For the major express companies, preparation for the next holiday season started right after the last one ended. If you’re one of the many Americans whose packages arrived after Santa did last year, you are undoubtedly glad to hear this. In 2013, an unexpected surge in online orders, combined with winter storms and sparse airplane capacity, resulted in FedEx and UPS missing deliveries for Christmas.

While online retailers certainly share some of the blame – they promised more than was reasonable – UPS and FedEx are investing heavily this year to avoid a repeat of last year. For the first time, UPS will operate a full domestic air and ground network on the day after Thanksgiving (not just its air network). It’s also adding 95,000 seasonal workers and 6,000 package delivery cars, plus increasing its available aircraft. FedEx recently announced a sharp increase in its number of seasonal workers.

Retailers are also making some changes, including in-store pick-up options and better “distributive fulfillment” efforts, which lets them ship from their brick-and-mortar stores rather than distribution centers. These offerings reduce the distances packages travel.

The U.S. Postal Service came out of last year’s holiday season smelling sweet. A Business Week article called the Postal Service’s performance stellar, noting that it made adjustments throughout December – including adding deliveries on three Sundays in the month – to accommodate package surges. Of course, the Postal Service doesn’t operate its own fleet of airplanes like UPS and FedEx. So it’s not necessarily the carrier of choice for overnight deliveries.

Still, many pundits believe the Postal Service could win some new customers this holiday season due to its strong performance last year. The Postmaster General recently told USA Today the Postal Service expects an 8 percent increase in packages over last year. Further, the Postal Service’s recent lowering of commercial Priority Mail prices may have already convinced some companies to switch. However, unpredictable weather close to Christmas and increased volume could pose challenges similar to last year. Would a less-than-stellar holiday performance from the Postal Service hurt its potential in the coveted commercial package market? How can the Postal Service prepare for these potential challenges? Will the changes retailers are making help? 

Comments (14)

  • anon

    Very nicely written blog Post, I really appreciate the way you explained it.

    Apr 04, 2017
  • anon

    Good information. Preksh is Visual merchandising website. Preksh provide an unique 360 degree view of Every store and Preksh brings to you the real stores at your home

    Dec 10, 2015
  • anon

    I can't agree with you more. Actually, it would be better if you order the goods you want before that peak. You will miss that crazy time.

    Jul 13, 2015
  • anon

    Great post! According to me holidays seasons are peak period when package deliveries are bound to get affected with so many shipping orders. In such cases, it really feel it is better to order a bit early if one wants to avoid late arrival of gifts.

    May 22, 2015
  • anon

    I don't know why I continue to us USPS! The employees are ALWAYS unhappy & rude! I try to use the selfserve as much as posssible. Which is what I did on Tuesday Dec 23 , 2014 @6:40AM ! I really did NOT want to send the package priority 2day..but the selfserve gave me NO other option! I live in 29401, the package was going to 29646. They did not receive the pkg untill Friday , 3 days later. #1, If I pay for 2 Day priority, that's what I excpect to happen. #2, I was given lots of excuses as to why it took 3 days, " that's how the machine is set up" or " if you had come to the counter, that would have been your ONLY choise too" or " It is the holidays we have 10 times the package to deliver, there is NO guarantee during holidays!" I want this addressed. Please respond, and I'll give you all the information. Very unhappy customer!

    Dec 30, 2014
  • anon

    Hello Barbara, We apologize for the inconvenience. We suggest that you either file a complaint online with our offices at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form or file a complaint with your local USPS Office of Consumer Affairs by calling (803) 926-6387 or (803) 926-6389. By using either one or both options, it will give us the critical information we need to look into your complaint. Thank you.

    Dec 30, 2014
  • anon

    I will NOT be using the USPS ever again to mail gifts. I sent my granddaughter a custom stained glass box which I packed in bubble wrap and styro foam chips. It arrived with one corner broken. I used one of your insured boxes. My daughter-in-law, Rebecca (Becky) Seward filed a claim for the $50.00 insurance. She never heard back from anyone, so I filed again. I was supposed to hear back form the postal service and receive my refund in three weeks. That was eight weeks ago. I asked my local post office where I mailed the box from and they said they couldn't help me. What a shoddy operation. You're glad for us to mail packages using your insured boxes but there is no follow up. Shame on you!

    Nov 13, 2014
  • anon

    Hello Janet, Thank you for taking the time to notify our offices of this issue. The USPS Office of Inspector General investigates waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS). If you could please file a complaint online at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form. By completing this form it will provide our offices with the critical information needed to expeditiously resolve this matter. Thank you. U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General www.uspsoig.gov

    Nov 14, 2014
  • anon

    I will likely be shopping earlier, however I will NOT be using USPS. In August, I mailed 125 invitations. 19 never made it despite having correct addresses, correct postage, and being hand delivered to the counter at the post office. That is over a 15% failure rate. Despite knowing that I would get no help, I asked to speak with the local manager. She was extremely rude and accused me of lying. Today, we tried to renew our daughters passport at the same post office. Online, it states that this location accepts walk in customers. To confirm, we called the post office and were told that walk ins were accepted from 8am to 3pm. When we arrived, we were told that they "would not accommodate us." The same manager walked over to a printed sheet of paper, pointed to a notice saying that appointments may fill up if customers do not arrive between 8:00 and 8:30am. I explained our phone call and the fact that the official website does not mention this caveat. She told me that she did not believe someone gave me this information and if that was all I needed to please leave. I will happily pay a few extra $$ to avoid this black hole for our tax dollars.

    Nov 12, 2014
  • anon

    Hello Dee, Thank you for taking the time to contact our offices. The USPS Office of Inspector General investigates waste, theft, fraud and abuse within the Postal Service (USPS). We recommend contacting the USPS customer service office: you can call them at 800-275-8777 or email socialmedia@usps.gov. Once they have received your claim they can look further into this matter. Another option is to file a complaint online at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form and we can then forward this issue to the right department. Thank you. U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General www.uspsoig.gov

    Nov 10, 2014
  • anon

    I mailed a letter last week to the next town in SC in the letter never made it. I went to the post office and it was like oh well u don't have a tracking #. I mailed it in the post office. The envelope had important documents. This is an awful experience. With the holidays coming up I will not ship with the USPS.

    Nov 08, 2014
  • anon

    if I were the in the government I would dismantle this crap of USPS.I would privatize the US mailing system. bunch overpaid workers who are lazy and don't like to work. just show up to their jobs to collect their weekly check.

    Nov 03, 2014
  • anon

    yes i agree the USPS is the worse mailing system out there shame its government, i sen t a package out to my family and the box got there empty!! since August its been an ongoing "investigation" i don't understand how a government based operation allows stuff like this to happen!!! i don't respect the USPS they are GARBAGE!!! neither do i trust them!!! and yes the workers are super lazy overpaid and so RUDE!!! i don't suggest anyone to use this system to snd out things to their families of the holidays, don't TRUST them!!!!!!!

    Nov 06, 2014
  • anon

    Hello Julissa, The primary responsibility of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General is to prevent, detect, and report fraud, waste, and misconduct; and to conduct independent audits and investigations of Postal Service programs and operations to ensure their efficiency and integrity. We suggest filing a complaint online at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/new-complaint-form. It will provide our offices with the critical information needed to expeditiously resolve this matter. Thank you.

    Nov 07, 2014

Recent Comments

  • 12 hours 41 min ago
    In most of these comments, I have noted that people are upset with USPS as an overall company and do not take in the underlying factors that will cause your package to arrive late (as said in the...
  • 12 hours 45 min ago
    Hello, Natyisha. Thanks for your message. For employee misconduct, we recommend filing an online complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form by selecting the "Contact Us...

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