Looking ahead to heavy holiday volumes

When holiday shopping season picks up, December 12 and December 22 could shape up to be two of its busiest days.

By ·

When holiday shopping season picks up, December 22 could shape up to be one of its busiest days.

That is what UPS says anyhow.

The industry bellwether announced today that holiday shopping will be at its highest level on December 22, which it said is lined up to be its peak shipping day with projected delivery volume will be in the neighborhood of 26 million packages.

And if that statistic is not enough to quell your curiosity for holiday volumes, UPS came out with others, too.

The company is expecting to see five different days on which deliveries will approach or top the 25 million mark, with all these days occurring within the last ten days before Christmas. Perhaps this is a sign that the economy is improving? If you are asking why, consider the fact that in 2010 UPS only had one day in which deliveries were north of 25 million.

Making the 25 million packages per day estimate even more staggering than it sounds on paper is that UPS pegs this to be about 60 percent higher volume-wise than a typical day, which checks in around 15.6 million and is the equivalent of delivering nearly 300 packages per second.

While UPS is expecting December 22 to be its peak shipping day, it is calling for December 23 to be its peak air day, with air package deliveries to be just about double the output of a typical day at 6 million compared to 3 million. On top of this, UPS will fly more than 400 additional flight segments per day during its peak week, the company said. And in terms of tracking, UPS is expecting to handle more than 58 million online tracking requests on December 20.

The holiday shopping estimates from UPS’s biggest competitor, FedEx, which were released late last month, are also very impressive to say the least. 

The “other” transportation bellwether said this week it expects to move more than 17 million shipments through its global networks on December 12.

If this type of activity occurs, it would represent roughly a ten percent gain over December 13, 2010, when the company moved 15.6 million shipments and it would mark the single busiest day in the company’s history since it began tracking this data in 2005.

Company officials said this gain will be driven by FedEx Smart Post, its “last mile” delivery service partnership with the United States Postal Service, which is primarily spurred by e-commerce, and expected volume increases for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery.

They added that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the company is forecasting more than 260 million shipments to be moved through its global shipping networks, a 12 percent annual increase over last year, which hit roughly 232 million shipments.

On top of what both UPS and FedEx are calling for, the National Retail Federation recently said that holiday sales are expected to increase 2.8 percent during November and December to $465.6 billion, marking a higher increase than the 2.6 average over the last ten years.

But before we get too excited looking at that number, the NRF itself said that this is an “average” projection, considering that the annual holiday increase from 2009-to-2010 was 5.2 percent—but that was an easier comparison, given how tough of a year 2009 was for the economy.

What’s more, there remain the headwinds of things like higher gas prices, unemployment, and financial markets that all have the potential to dampen consumer spending activity.

But in any event, FedEx and UPS are calling for holiday growth and that is a good thing. It is obviously hard to tell how close they will come to hitting their respective targets at this point, but it stands to reason they will both at the least come very close.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Managing Global Transportation: How NVOCCs can operate more profitably
Global transportation isn’t getting any easier to manage. With new rules and regulations to learn, new compliance requirements to adhere to, and new customers and business partners to onboard, navigating the complexities of the global market can be difficult for any company. To fully leverage their global supply chains, firms need a robust, global transportation management system that helps them navigate this ever-changing environment.
Download Today!
From the July 2016 Issue
While it’s currently a shippers market, the authors of this year’s report contend that we’ve entered a “period of transition” that will usher in a realignment of capacity, lower inventories, economic growth and “moderately higher” rates. It’s time to tighten the ties that bind.
2016 State of Logistics: Third-party logistics
2016 State of Logistics: Ocean freight
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Getting the most out of your 3PL relationship
Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo