You might still be taking down your Halloween decorations, but holiday shopping and shipping are already hot topics in the news. The lingering effects of COVID-19 are still being felt by retailers and shipping carriers, creating concern over disruptions this busy holiday season. Major shipping carriers have canceled their service guarantees over the holidays, indicating that delivery delays are to be expected.
The trick to being a savvy gifter and shipper this year — and avoiding the disappointment of delayed gifts — is to understand the factors at play and what you can do about them. Read on for everything you need to know about 2021 holiday shipping delays, and how you can avoid extra headaches this holiday season.
From restaurants to airlines to shipping carriers, it seems no industry is unaffected by the current labor shortage. Shipping carriers are operating with fewer staff than usual, making it a challenge to sort packages in shipping hubs and get them delivered across the country and around the world. Shipping carriers are offering additional pay and bonuses to attract more staff for the busy season — FedEx announced in September that it would be hiring 90,000 workers to assist during the peak holiday season.
Whether the additional staff will be enough to help manage high volumes of holiday shipments remains to be seen. We recommend planning ahead and expecting those unexpected delays this season.
Supply Chain Disruptions
Another piece of this year’s holiday craziness is the supply chain, which has affected the movement of goods and materials around the world. Ports are overloaded and items are getting stuck in shipping containers — as the staffing shortage is also affecting global logistics.
What does this mean for consumers? Unfortunately, it indicates that the challenge won’t just be in getting your gifts to their recipients — but even in purchasing them in the first place. Once the holiday rush hits, experts are predicting that shoppers may encounter more empty shelves than usual. Retailers across the country are hard at work on finding solutions, and the White House has even established a task force to help keep goods moving. But shoppers should still anticipate difficulties buying certain gifts this year, especially after Black Friday.
Tips for Holiday Shopping and Shipping
So what can you do to take the stress out of your holiday shopping and shipping? It all comes down to planning and preparation. If there are specific must-have gifts you’re planning to purchase, pick them up as soon as possible (it may not be worth holding off for those Black Friday deals). And this certainly will not be the year for procrastination when it comes to shipping.
Follow these tips for shopping, shipping, and saving money this holiday season — while putting smiles on your loved ones’ faces with thoughtful gifts.
- Shop and ship EARLY. The most important way to ensure delivery by your target date is to give the shipping carriers as much time as possible. That means having your gifts purchased, packed, and shipped as early in the season as you’re able. Plus, shipping early will cost less than express services.
- Build in a buffer. Even if a ground shipping service would typically be fast enough to get your package delivered on time, rather than cutting it close, you might consider choosing a faster option to cut back on travel time.
- Shop locally. There are many great reasons to support your local businesses, but this crazy season offers one more: by selling locally crafted or artisan goods, small businesses are less likely to be affected by the global supply chain disruptions.
- Buy in-store. When possible, shopping at brick-and-mortar stores (or browsing online and selecting curbside pickup) and then shipping gifts to your recipients will cut back on processing time associated with e-commerce and give you control over when the items get on their way.
In these unpredictable and confusing times, trust in PostNet’s shipping experts to help you send love home for the holidays. From advising you on the best shipping options for your needs to packing your gifts securely, we’re here to help make the holidays merrier. Stop by your local PostNet center today to get started!