Hanukkah wasn’t so happy for many who didn’t get their gifts in time. And now Christmas could come late for millions of others who are expecting presents dropped on their doorsteps.
Deliveries nationwide are being slowed by record-breaking online ordering, a Nor’easter, COVID-19 vaccine shipments and workers laid up by the infection, new numbers show.
The delays are serious enough that retailers big and small are warning customers that their packages won’t arrive in time for the holiday.
“People aren’t visiting so they are sending gifts instead,” said Kathleen Deflaun, owner of Manhattan Mailboxes on West 12th Street. “It doesn’t matter if it’s going across the country or from Manhattan to Queens, things get stuck.”
The US Postal Service, FedEx and UPS saw their on-time delivery rates drop in the second week of December, compared with the previous two weeks, according to shipping-technology company ShipMatrix, which analyzed delivery schedules from more than 100,000 shipping locations nationwide.
USPS took the biggest hit for the week of Dec. 6. Mail carriers delivered about 88% of packages on time, compared with 93% for the weeks of Nov. 22 and Nov. 29. FedEx fell from 95% to 94% and UPS slipped only slightly — from 96.3% to 96.1%.
The numbers mean more than 3.5 million parcels are being delivered at least a day late, ShipMatrix said Friday.
Winter Storm Gail slowed things down even more by dumping as much as 40 inches of snow across the Northeast this week. Customers in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and New York are suffering the most, seeing their on-time deliveries drop to the high 80s, the company reported.
FedEx and UPS have stopped accepting packages at some of their locations, and the backlog is falling on USPS, ShipMatrix President Satish Jindal said.
“The post office has the capacity to handle 36 million packages a day, and instead of 36, they are getting six million more during this peak season,” Jindal said.
FedEx was operating only partial service in 16 states Friday, according to its website. On Thursday, UPS posted a notice online alerting customers that it has suspended its money-back guarantee on packages that don’t arrive by a certain date.
The shipping industry is expected to deliver 3 billion packages this holiday season, up from 2.2 billion last year — a surge driven by a rush of online orders from shoppers leery of catching COVID in a store.
Delays have been exacerbated by COVID-related delivery worker absences, shipping companies have said. Fedex and USPS are also delivering the coronavirus vaccine.
Two of the nation’s big retailers are giving customers a head-up about late deliveries on their websites. Macy’s started telling customers Monday that it couldn’t guarantee delivery by Dec. 24, and furniture and home goods retailer Crate & Barrel had a notice Friday that the Christmas shipping cutoff had passed.
And the delays have been yet another blow to the city’s independent retailers that have seen their foot traffic plummet this year.
“Due to increased order volume and COVID-19, there may be a delay in shipping your order. Thank you for your patience! <3,” read an online notice posted Friday by The Pink Olive, a boutique with three city locations and one upstate.
Credit: NYPOST Newzandar News