No one can claim 2013 was an uneventful year in the postal world. Early in the year, the U.S. Postal Service made the blockbuster announcement that it would move to 5-day delivery, but by mid-year it had changed course and pulled the plan. Then, on Christmas Eve, the Postal Regulatory Commission issued a momentous decision to approve the exigent price increase, only temporarily through surcharges. Sprinkled in between were drones, barcodes, and Sunday delivery.
The 2013 holiday season turned out to be a particularly eventful one for e-tailers and the shippers that deliver all those packages to your door.
Factors like fewer than average shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and an increasing comfort level with online buying helped push holiday e-commerce up significantly. In fact, demand exceeded expectations and stressed shippers’ capacity, causing some late deliveries of their goods.
Holiday mailings are as much a part of the American tradition as kids’ letters to Santa.
We’ve talked a lot about the growth in packages, including those all-important holiday gifts. But the Postal Service is also doing its bit to make sure Big Red knows who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. As in years past, families with young “believers” have been taking advantage of the Postal Service offering that ensures letters from Santa have a North Pole postmark (so long as the request was made by December 10).
Holiday greeting cards still outweigh e-cards in terms of sentiment and personal touch, recent surveys indicate. Even digital natives say a card in the mail evokes a stronger reaction than a text or email. Yet, each year, fewer and fewer people are sending holiday greeting cards through the mail.