For many, Black Friday is the official start of the holiday shopping season. This pseudo-holiday, which falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving, sees brick-and-mortar and online retailers alike offering limited deals on all manner of items. Many flock to stores in an effort to not just buy discounted 50” televisions, but to get a jump on the holiday madness. Purchasing items almost a month before the holidays should allow for plenty of time to have your items properly wrapped, packaged, and shipped to your loved ones throughout the country (and world!), right?
Well, yes and no. Consider the following statistics:
According to USA Today, FedEx is predicting a 12.4% increase in shipping volume between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, with surges taking place on the first two Mondays in December. Conversely, CNN Money reports that UPS is expecting a 10% increase in shipping volume between Black Friday and New Year’s, with an estimated 630 million packages being shipped this season. Despite a relatively smooth 2014, these two major shipping companies don’t want a repeat of 2013, a particularly disastrous shipping season that saw the two shipping giants being pelted with lumps of coal (figuratively speaking, of course) by consumers over shipments that didn’t make it home in time for Christmas.
The advent of Cyber Monday, online retailers’ version of Black Friday, has done little to ease the holiday shipping madness. Since 2006, spending on Cyber Monday has grown from $610 million to a mind-blowing $2.68 billion. That’s a 340% increase in less than ten years, and with many retailers offering online details upwards of a week before Cyber Monday, 2015 is shaping up to beat 2014’s record.
Despite these numbers, this still doesn’t stop people from procrastinating, resulting in a flood of last-minute deliveries. Despite an increase in seasonal help – FedEx is looking to hire 55,000 seasonal workers, compared to UPS’s 95,000 – even the promise of two-day or overnight delivery should be taken with a grain of salt. Add in the potential for inclement weather and the difficulty in anticipating actual volume, shipping during the holidays will always be, for lack of a better term, a crapshoot.
The numbers don’t lie, so to avoid the holiday headache, you need to shop early and ship early.
1. Plan out your shopping schedule to finish by a certain date that coincides with the earliest suggested shipping date of every major carrier available. For ground shipments, this is approximately two weeks before Christmas. This year, that means Friday, December 11th, 2015. For shipments within Texas, you have a little more time, but to be safe, get those gifts shipped off by Tuesday, December 15th.
2. Visit Pak Mail Anderson Mill and speak to a shipping expert to help select the best carrier based on the size, weight, and volume of packages you’re sending.
3. Pack your items carefully and securely to ensure they arrive safely and damage-free. If you do it yourself, you want to be sure to have the smallest box possible that still provides adequate cushioning to protect your treasures from the rigors of the shipping system. Remember – boxes are not handled gently by UPS, FedEx, or USPS.
To make things easiest and safest at this busy time of year, let Pak Mail’s experts can help with packing, custom crating, and shipping solutions for large, heavy, awkward, or fragile items.
Questions? Just stop by or give us a call. We’re always happy to help!