Talking tech since 2003

It was a busy and exciting Holiday season, that’s for sure – but nobody was busier than the world’s parcel services, including UPS and FedEx. People around the country were disappointed yesterday morning when the woke to not a jubilee of wrapped goodies under their trees, but I.O.U notices from loved ones. The problem? This season was so busy for the parcel services that they literally could not keep up with the massive influx of deliveries, leading to delayed shipping times and missed delivery estimates. The reason? Online retailers such as Amazon reportedly saw a huge and unexpected rise in sales this Christmas, leading to more packages to deliver than ever.

While many online retailers, including Amazon, have not given any specifics as to their sales this holiday season just yet – we’ll likely have to wait until the end of the fiscal quarter to get any hard numbers – reliable analytics firm IBM Digital Analytics calculated a 37% increase in overall online shopping sales this year versus last Christmas, and a 15% increase in sales this last month or so alone.

While the situation is certainly disappointing, online retailers are attempting to bring back at least a little bit of holiday cheer into your household. Referencing the delays in shipping due to late deliveries, Amazon is now reportedly reaching out to affected customers apologizing for the inconvenience, and offering to refund all shipping costs as well as a $20 gift card to make up for the inconvenience. Other retailers are getting in on the holiday spirit as well – Groupon is offering affected customers a $25 gift card, while Kohls is refunding the entire price of all affected orders – a move that will likely cost the company thousands.

To make matters even more confusing, UPS isn’t taking the situation lightly. Speaking out to the Wall Street Journal, UPS is claiming that they are not at fault for this situation despite what Amazon and other retailers are claiming; instead, they say, the fault lies to delays caused by the retailers’ inability to get the shipments to UPS shipping centers to begin with.

Whatever the cause, one thing is certain – we all bought a whole lot of stuff online this holiday season. I know I’m not exempt here, having done most of my Christmas hopping online rather than fighting the crowds (and the New England cold) these last couple of months. As this becomes more and more of a trend, retailers and parcel services alike will need to work overtime to assure that packages get delivered on time in the future. Happy Holidays!

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