This season, gift givers are encouraged to start their holiday shopping now and ship packages earlier than usual. Several factors, which stem from the Coronavirus, have led to the urgency, including possible store closures, supply chain issues, demand, and mail delays. 

According to CNBC, as the second pandemic holiday season approaches, the delta variant has created uncertainty about what stores will be open on Black Friday and at what capacity. Last year, stores were shut down for several weeks amid the outbreak of Covid-19 crisis, allowing only a small capacity to enter the store at a time. Meanwhile, unemployment relieved employees who felt unsafe at work and many still have not returned, leaving businesses short staffed. Many businesses have had to cut hours or close extra days during the week to accommodate the shift . Combined, these circumstances pose serious issues for holiday shopping, which already struggles to meet high demands.

Manufacturers are still trying to catch up from the shut down, which has led to supply chain issues. The demand for products is high, and demands are not able to be met due to a lack of supplies and employees. Toys, which already experience high demand during the holiday season, will face higher demand this year. Parents who are hoping to grab that special toy or video game console are encouraged to do so before it’s too late. While waiting for Black Friday or a special deal may sound intriguing, it may lead to missing out entirely. 

Mail delays could pose additional problems. The holiday season always experiences slower mail, due to the mass quantity of items being shipped. For decades, mail carriers have worked overtime during the holiday season to meet demands. This year, however, mail is expected to be even slower than usual due to the new postal service changes. The United States Postal Service started slowing its mail delivery last month, part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s plan to cut costs over the next 10 years. Mail transported by plane will drop from 20% to 12%. The most widespread and significant change will affect first-class mail which includes letters, small packages, bills, and tax documents. Prior to these changes, American USPS customers could expect first-class mail to reach its destination in one to three days, but now it may take up to five days. 

With these factors in mind, shoppers can plan ahead and get a jumpstart on their holiday tasks to ensure packages are ready to be shipped by late November or early December.

When it’s time to ship, stop into Express Business Center where we can help package and mail your items. We’ll help you choose the carrier that best fits your needs.

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