Sudden climb in online shopping results in holiday purchase delays

Due to a last minute surge in online orders in the US, many companies were unable to supply purchases in

Due to a last minute surge in online orders in the US, many companies were unable to supply purchases in time for Christmas.

While US store traffic plummeted by 21% this season, online sales soared with a 37% jump throughout the weekend prior to Christmas, according to IBM Digital Analytics. The sudden surge in online sales, coupled with last minute shipping guarantees of items being delivered by December 25th from online retailers caused the US Parcel Service and UPS to reach maximum capabilities, resulting in the inability to deliver all packages on time. Other factors such as weather, web glitches and manufacturing setbacks are also believed to have contributed to the delays.

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Companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, and Groupon promised delivery of items before Christmas day up until December 24th, causing a surge in online purchases. This proved to be overwhelming to the parcel services resulting in packages to be delayed until December 26th.

“The volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast,” a UPS spokeswoman said.

The E-tailers have been quick to respond, with Amazon refunding shipping charges and giving out $20 gift-cards to those affected by the shipping delay. Groupon sent to their buyers a message suggesting they print out their purchases, apologizing for the inconvenience of not being able to supply the products in time. Kohl’s released late on Tuesday their apology to their customers, informing them they intend to reimburse the full amount of the late products.

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“We are deeply sorry for disappointing our customers expecting delivery in time for Christmas,” a Kohl’s spokeswoman added.

The exact number of shoppers affected by the shipping delays remains to be known. UPS stated they received more shipments in their Air-Network than the 7.75 million parcels that were expected this holiday season.

According to the US Commerce department, an average of 6% of US retail is done online.
The figure reached 14% this holiday season.


Image courtesy of Flicker

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