For most Americans, presents shipped from afar arrived in time to be wrapped and placed under Christmas trees this holiday season.
In its annual Christmas delivery study, market research firm StellaService placed orders with 40 of the country’s largest retailers. They found that only 7 percent of orders missed their delivery date, a big improvement over the 2013 holidays, when 12 percent of orders failed to arrive at the promised time.
Last year, poor weather and a boom in online shopping caught carriers by surprise, and they struggled to make deliveries on time. In 2014, however, the two largest package carriers, FedEx and UPS, stepped up their game to help make Christmas a happy time for U.S. families.
Shipment tracker ShipMatrix reported that FedEx delivered more than 99 percent of express packages on the promised delivery dates of Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, according to an Associated Press article. UPS kept their promise as well, delivering 99 percent of express packages scheduled for those days. In 2013, the on-time percentage for those days was in the low 90s, a ShipMatrix spokesman told the AP.
“Retailers did a nice job this year on fulfillment,” said StellaService vice president of research Kevon Hills in an article in Happy Service, the company’s online publication. “You saw many of these packages leave the warehouse the same day the order was placed, which is the best effort the retailer can make. Everyone seemed to learn from last year’s woes and make the proper improvements.”
FedEx and UPS said they worked on improving their distribution systems and hired more seasonal workers ahead of the holiday rush.
For its fulfillment study, StellaService placed 160 orders from 40 of the largest U.S. retailers on their advertised Christmas delivery cut-off date. If they had not advertised a cut-off date, StellaService calculated one based on estimated delivery dates for standard or expedited shipping.
Apple, Dell, Nordstrom and Zappos shined this year, meeting a promise to delivery by Christmas orders placed on Dec. 23. Nine of the 40 retailers—Best Buy, Costco, Crate & Barrel, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Staples, Toys R Us and Wayfair—missed a delivery to at least one region in the U.S., according to StellaService.