By Jay Heflin
As the nation enters the holiday season, the coronavirus has accelerated e-commerce to levels the shipping industry has never experienced, and carriers are warning people to send gifts early or risk delivery delays.
“We are preparing for what promises to be an unprecedented peak,” a FedEx spokesperson told the Washington Examiner via email. “Our message to customers throughout the holiday season … is simple: Shop Early, Ship Early!”
Online sales are projected to total more than $189 billion between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, according to the Adobe Analytics Holiday Forecast 2020. That is 33% above 2019 levels, which was also a record-breaking year.
Online shopping is up largely because more people plan to shop remotely due to the pandemic.
Over two-thirds, 71%, of people do not want to shop in stores this holiday season because they fear other shoppers won’t take the coronavirus seriously, according to polling by Morning Consult, a data intelligence company.
Also, 70% of respondents feel shopping inside a store makes them vulnerable to the virus regardless of whether people obey social distancing rules, the polling found.
The pandemic has also put a damper on holiday travel.
An overwhelming majority of respondents, 74%, do not plan to travel for the holidays and will partake in smaller gatherings. Meanwhile, nearly half, 49%, plan to shift from in-person holiday celebrations to virtual get-togethers. And 47% expect to cancel holiday festivities altogether this year, according to Morning Consult polling.
The decision not to congregate with friends and family this holiday season means more packages will be bought online and delivered by carriers, as 66% of respondents to the Morning Consult poll said they will give fewer gifts in person and, instead, will rely more on mailing gifts. That percentage is up from last year.