NEW YORK – A sharp increase in online shopping this
holiday season resulted in broken delivery promises, causing many empty
Christmas stockings, the Wall Street
The late surge in activity suggests companies do not
fully understand consumers’ buying patterns during the Internet era.
Amazon, Kohl’s and Walmart were among retailers who
promised to deliver items before December 25, only to see holiday packages
landing short of their promised destinations on Christmas Day.
"The volume of air packages in the UPS system did
exceed capacity as demand was much greater than our forecast," a UPS
spokesperson said. Consumers also reported missing deliveries from FedEx.
E-commerce represents roughly 6% of overall U.S. retail
sales, according to the Commerce Department. This holiday season, online
purchases will represent nearly 14% of sales, the National Retail Federation
UPS sent notifications to some Amazon customers that shipping
delays were the result of delays by Amazon, a claim that Amazon disputed.
"Amazon fulfillment centers processed and tendered
customer orders to delivery carriers on time for holiday delivery," said
an Amazon spokesperson. "We are reviewing the performance of the delivery
Some retailers blamed the problem on a decrease in the
number of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which compounded
last minute shopping.
According to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita
Mulpuru, about 15% of online shoppers miss their promised pre-Christmas
delivery window. And with online shopping increasing, the volume of errors is
likely to increase, even if the percentage doesn’t.
"Retailers think they can take orders up to the
last minute, but they just can't pick and pack fast enough," Mulpuru said.