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USA TODAY

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Nov 27, 2020
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In a year full of unknowns, one thing is clear: This holiday season, you might want to shop fast and ship early.

On top of the typical holiday crush, carriers ranging from the U.S. Postal Service to UPS will be ferrying millions of packages to shoppers who've made online shopping their go-to for daily purchases amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered stores and confined many largely to their homes.

And demand for delivery will likely only grow now that COVID-19 cases are surging across the U.S., spurring lawmakers to ponder new restrictions and holiday travelers to stay put and mail their gifts instead.

"This holiday season, like everything else in 2020 is ... going to be unprecedented,'' says Brie Carere, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx Corporation. "We were at holiday level volumes in March and April. So now ... you’ve got a peak on top of a peak.''

Stores are expanding curbside and in-store pickup to more quickly get items into customers' hands. And delivery services are hiring historic numbers of seasonal workers, ratcheting up space to sort packages, and asking retailers to make sure shoppers have realistic expectations about how soon they'll receive their purchases.

"That’s really the key,'' Carere says, "to be transparent with consumers about when their packages will arrive. That’s far more critical than anything else this holiday season.’’

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