Christmas shoppers visit stores to avoid delivery delays

The big delays in the American postal service have forced millions of Americans to do something they swore they would not do this holiday season: shopping in stores.

On Thursday, parking lots across the U.S. were filled with shoppers who snatched last-minute things after admitting to themselves that transit orders they placed online days or weeks earlier may not arrive on time for Christmas.

“Christmas is coming whether or not the postal services respect it,” said Simeon Siegel, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets. “At the end of the day, Santa has to deliver. If that means postal services or port congestion or any other bottlenecks prevent items from reaching the tree, we’ll try to find something at the last minute. “

The rush to the mall is good news for retailers, many of whom are still trying to make up for the sales they lost when they closed during pandemic home stay orders. Purchases with personal products carry higher profit margins than delivered items, and buyers are more likely to add impulse purchases when hunting for gifts in the store, increasing the sales of companies.

Americans have largely avoided personal shopping this year to avoid potential exposure to coronavirus. Seasonal shopping began weeks earlier than usual, and most of the traffic shifted to the network, resulting in Black Friday visits by 52% year-on-year, Sensormatic Solutions data show. It also dropped sharply during Super Saturday for the weekend, traditionally the last rush in shopping before Christmas.

But as the postal service reports “unprecedented” quantities and large numbers of manpower due to COVID-19, these packages pile up in delivery trucks and processing plants, not under wood. Just around 12 noon by Christmas, some American shoppers decided they still had to disguise themselves and attack the shops.

In an e-mail, the postal service reported on the “historic scale” and said that its 644,000 employees “continue to work diligently to solve the problem and remain focused on providing holidays and beyond for the state.”

Delays have opened a window that traders are mobilizing to fill. Macy’s Inc. it continued to offer to take over the curbs on Christmas Eve, although the same day’s delivery was completed the day before. Target Corp., which is generally seen as the winner of the year of the pandemic, has customers order as early as Thursday afternoon to pick up curbs or deliver the same day with Shipt. Target said in an email that in the days before Christmas, he recorded a “sudden rise” in services on the same day.

“It’s surprising that a lot of people leave at the last minute,” said Gabriella Santaniello, founder of retail research firm A-Line Partners, after visiting stores near Los Angeles in the days leading up to Christmas. “I was at a mall yesterday, and it was the busiest mall I’ve been to since the prepandemic.”

That marks a big change from just a few days earlier, when the crowd on Super Saturday never materialized. Activity during the Super Saturday and Black Friday weekends was so low, in fact, Sensormatic Solutions had to revise its traffic forecast for the entire holiday season. This is because since last Saturday, customers were still hoping that their orders would succeed.

“Shipment delays are a problem this year, resulting in consumers being redirected from the Internet to stores to make last-minute purchases,” according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Less than half of consumers ended their vacation last weekend, it is stated.

Mackenzi Farquer, owner of Lockwood, a small boutique chain in New York, is experiencing a first-hand boom. She said that in front of her place Astoria, Queens, on Christmas Eve, when she arrived at work at 10 a.m., there was a “long line” in front of her place. The day before it had been the busiest in her store since the start of the pandemic and she had to turn to visiting customers at the closing.

“For me, as a trader, it’s shocking,” she said. “We’re closing tonight at 6pm and I guess we’re going to have to tell people that unfortunately I can’t get in. We had to close last night even though there were still people in line waiting to get in.”

Jonah Zimiles, who owns a Words bookstore in Maplewood, NJ, said that although business declined sharply during the pandemic, foot traffic has accelerated recently due to delivery delays, even beyond expected last-minute purchases that are typical in any which season.

“We’re starting with cream,” said Zimiles, who opened his independent bookstore in a New York suburb nearly 12 years ago, “but we get significantly less cream than we did a month ago.”