Record shopping season expected for Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, many retailers and delivery companies are predicting a huge increase in sales this holiday season, thanks to the boom of the e-commerce shopping channels. With the growth of e-commerce over the past two years, even the National Retail Federation (NRF) are expecting the holiday sales to shoot up.

NRF expects four percent increase

According to the NRF’s forecast figures, they expect the holiday sales for this season to jump around 3.6 to 4 percent on last year’s figures, increasing holiday sales for 2017 to around 680 billion U.S. dollars. Matthew Shay, CEO and president of the NRF, said of the figures, “Our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and overall strength of the industry.” E-commerce sales are expected to top out at around 114 billion dollars this season, an increase of around 21 percent on last year, according to sales forecasters, Deloitte Consulting. And Rachel Snider, the VP of customer supply for Illinois logistics firm, AFN, is saying that her associates in carrier firms are expecting an extremely busy, and challenging, holiday season.

Temporary distribution centers set up

It is widely apparent that the recent growth of the e-commerce channels is changing the way consumers purchase goods and is forcing shipping companies to work extra hard already, for the run-up to the holiday season. Some retailers are even setting up temporary distribution centers to cover the increased workload. “Supply chains have been built to service the big box retailer ecosystem,” said Snider. E-commerce has been responsible for major changes in the delivery industry, changing the shipping patterns to meet more low volume/high-frequency shipments. FedEx is also expecting a huge increase, with figures predicting around 400 million packages during the holiday season.

E-commerce and mobile wallets change consumer habits

The changes to the market dynamics due to e-commerce platforms have driven a surge in demand for fast, efficient shipping, forcing FedEx to increase its ground support network and adding more aircraft to its current fleet. On average, across the board, the national shipping carriers in the U.S. are expecting an overall increase of around 8 percent on the 2016 holiday season.

Online and mobile e-commerce has changed the way consumers make their purchases in recent years with the increased use of mobile wallets and digital payments, transforming the retail industry across the United States.

The USPS expects huge increase

As for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), it is predicting a record holiday season, with more than 15 billion items of mail and 850 million packages expected to be sent in the 25 days before Christmas, not including the New Year deliveries. As of November 26, 2017, the USPS is expanding its Sunday deliveries to more locations than ever before and is anticipating more than six million package deliveries every Sunday throughout December.

A two-week busy period before Christmas

The USPS says that the increase in expected volume is mainly due to the growth of the online shopping platforms, and they no longer see “busy days” for their in-person shipping services. Over the last two months, their previous busy days have increased to almost every day, and expect the busiest period to be the 14 days directly leading up to Christmas.

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