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Package Delivery Times Lag as Christmas Approaches

There are signs that shipping carriers are struggling to keep up with the spike in orders from online shoppers, which could spell bad news, particularly for marketplace sellers such as those on eBay and Amazon who earn defects if customers complain about late shipments.

One report from Friday shows a 2% drop in on-time delivery metrics not tied to any particular carrier, while another study shows on-time delivery rates for UPS and FedEx are falling.

Reporting and ratings platform Bizrate Insights provided EcommerceBytes with data showing that the percent of online buyers who report that all items in their order were delivered on-time fell 2% over the course of ten days. The report was based on surveys of over 130,000 shoppers about on-time delivery of their full orders from Dec 1-10, 2015.

Bizrate Insights Vice President Hayley Silver said “On-time delivery is quite important to maintaining customer loyalty, especially when there is a holiday or event deadline. The 2% drop that we see across this 10 day period alone equates to tens of thousands disappointed gift buyers.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that UPS Ground on-time delivery rates fell to 91%, down from 97% the same week last year, which is also its usual average during nonpeak months.

The Wall Street Journal was citing data from ShipMatrix Inc., which also showed FedEx Corp.’s early numbers for on-time delivery also lower than usual at an estimated 95%.

In October, UPS announced it was expecting a 10% increase in holiday shipments this year, predicting it would deliver over 630 million packages between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve. It said it would add up to 95,000 temporary workers but planned to bring them on just two or three days before they’re needed instead of for the entire peak season.

Fedex meanwhile was expecting a 12% increase in holiday season volume, predicting in October a record-breaking 317 million shipments between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. It planned on hiring 55,000 additional workers including package handlers, drivers, couriers, and other support positions and said FedEx Ground would run seven-day sort operations during peak season.

Amazon, eBay, and online retailers are continuing efforts to get sales from holiday shoppers.

UPS expects its peak delivery day to fall on Tuesday, December 22.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.