The U.S. Postal Service is adding package delivery on Sundays during the holidays to meet the expected growing demand as online retailers ship more products to customers. In a press release sent out yesterday, the USPS said it would be delivering packages seven days a week in major cities and high-volume areas starting Nov. 17 through Christmas Day in response to expected double-digit package volume growth.
"The Postal Service will be out making deliveries every single day during the holiday season, including Christmas Day," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in the press release.
Due to continued e-commerce growth — and improvements to its Priority Mail product line, according to the release — the USPS is expecting double-digit growth in its package business this holiday season, likely in the range of 450 million to 470 million packages. That equates to 12 percent growth over the same period last year.
The USPS must be on to something. The expectations are higher than ever for a merry retail season.
Deloitte’s annual holiday sales forecast, for example, is calling for a 13.5 percent to 14 percent increase in online and catalog sales during the 2014 holiday season.
In addition, the National Retail Federation's Shop.org announced last month in its eHoliday survey that 79 percent of retailers surveyed will set their standard shipping deadlines for guaranteed Christmas delivery at least a week before the big day, compared to the more than 73 percent which said so last holiday season.
Additionally, the study — conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics — reported that more than 21 percent of respondents will set those deadlines to expire Dec. 19 or later, compared to more than one-quarter who said so last year.
“It’s important to remember that the 2013 holiday season was impacted by a multitude of factors that affected the supply chain in the days leading up to Christmas, including bad weather and a shortened holiday calendar," said Vicki Cantrell, Shop.org executive director and NRF senior vice president, in the press release discussing the survey. "That said, retailers and their delivery partners this year are proactively planning to make sure they meet customer expectations for delivery and customer service."