World Trade 100

UPS’s Holiday Rush

January 4, 2013

UPS Inc. kicked off its seasonal peak week of the year on Dec. 17, 2012 with plans to deliver more than 135 million packages around the world, culminating with 28 million deliveries on Thursday, Dec. 20, the busiest day of the holiday season.

To meet the demand, coordinated UPS transportation and technology networks flexed their muscles. The UPS Airlines added more than 400 additional flights per day that week, and some 3 million express shipments were processed within 24 hours through the UPS Worldport international air hub in Louisville, Ky.

On Dec. 18, UPS estimated that the company would manage more than 69 million online package tracking requests, making it the busiest tracking day of the year.

E-supply Chain inbody image

As online purchasing increases and technology advances, the role of consumer-facing package tracking technologies will continue to become more relevant in this busy shipping season. Not only are more consumers tracking their packages online, but UPS technologies now enable consumers to re-route and modify the delivery time of these packages through the UPS My Choice service.

The way consumers are performing these tasks is changing as well. UPS estimated the number of tracking requests from mobile devices would reach over 2 million during the 2012 peak week and more than 600,000 delivery alert text messages would be sent to UPS My Choice customers.

After the holidays UPS doesn’t slow down. As more consumers shop online, they will return or exchange those unwanted holiday gifts. UPS expected to transport more than 2 million packages back to retailers during the first week in January 2013.

This past holiday season, more retailers focused on reverse logistics and offering free returns; the busiest day for returns at UPS is Jan. 3, 2013 when UPS anticipated it would handle more than 520,000 packages shipped back to retailers in a single day.

 “We’ve seen a 15 percent increase in retail returns over last year,” said David Sisco, UPS retail marketing director. “UPS research shows that 63 percent of online shoppers review a retailer’s returns policy before making a purchase.”