Online Sales to Drive Holiday Shipments to Record Levels

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Memphis, TN—With more consumers than ever poised to shop online during the holiday season this year, FedEx predicted today a 12% increase in shipments compared with last year.

FedEx reported that it has hired an additional 20,000 seasonal workers to handle a surge in holiday shipments, mostly driven by online sales.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, FedEx forecasts more than 260 million shipments to move through its worldwide shipping networks. Last year, the shipping company processed 232 million shipments in the November and December.

“As e-commerce continues to grow and demand increases with more customers shopping and conducting their business online, FedEx SmartPost is poised to handle the increase in shipments,” said Frederick W. Smith, chairman/president/ceo of FedEx Corp. “More than 290,000 FedEx team members also stand ready to deliver the holidays and enable commerce around the globe.”

Half of Holiday Shoppers To Buy Online

FedEx also projects December 12 will be its busiest day ever with some 17 million shipments, nearly double the company’s daily average volume and a 10% year-over-year-increase.

Among the merchandise FedEx says it will be shipping include apparel, personal consumer electronics and luxurygoods as well as books and other items from large, internet retailers will account for a large portion of the holiday volumes.

Most of the shipping increases may be attributed to FedEx SmartPost, a shipping service designed for online retailers and catalogues who ship high volumes of low-weight shipments to residential customers.

FedEx cited the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s holiday sales forecast that a 2.8% during November and December to $465.6 billion, a figure higher than the 10-year average of 2.6%, but below last year’s 5.2% increase.

The NRF also reports that nearly half of shoppers, or 46.7%, will buy online as compared to 43.9% in 2010. According to eMarketer, holiday online shopping will increase by 12% during the 2011 season.

Earlier this month, UPS told the Journal of Commerce that it, too, expects record shipping this holiday and has rolled out an enhanced residential service to help consumers manage the delivery of goods more closely.

The Atlanta-based shipping giant estimated 58 million tracking requests on its busiest day during this year’s holiday season.

“It’s likely this peak season will be bigger” than last year, Alan Gershenhorn, UPS’ chief marketing officer, said, noting the jump in Internet sales spurred the company to introduce UPS My Choice which allows residential consumers to have more control over the timing and location of their deliveries.

Last week, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced recommended holiday mailing dates and a discounted, flat rate price of $12.95 on packages sent to military service personnel worldwide. The price includes a $2 per box discount on Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes for military mail being sent to APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office) destinations worldwide.

The recommended last day to mail the most economical postage to overseas military destinations, including Iraq and Afghanistan, is Nov. 12, USPS reported.

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