Holiday E-Commerce Up 20%, Fedex Loses Ground to ‘Unprecedented’ Last-Minute Surge

Jan. 4, 2016

Holiday E-Commerce Up 20%, Fedex Loses Ground to ‘Unprecedented’ Last-Minute Surge U.S. consumers shopped online more—and later—this holiday season than ever before and one of the nation’s biggest delivery services experienced delays shipping last-minute items. While overall U.S. retail sales climbed 7.9 percent this holiday season compared to last (despite expectations of more tepid growth), the biggest bump came in e-commerce, where revenue surged 20 percent from 2014 to 2015 during the Black Friday-to-Christmas Eve period, according to the MasterCard Spending Pulse.

“After a slow start, I’m very happy to see that the holiday season was hot for retailers,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights for MasterCard Advisors. “We saw some very promising trends. E-commerce’s rise is a solid indication of an empowered and savvy shopper.”

In the week after Christmas, it became apparent that online activity carried on right up until a few days before Christmas . Many retailers were guaranteeing next-day delivery until Dec. 23 and, with some unsettled weather, some delivery companies had trouble catching up.  Fedex, which in Oct. had forecast record delivery volume this year “fueled by the rise of e-commerce,” didn’t forecast quite enough. The company had trouble keeping up this year and many packages arrived late due to “an unprecedented surge of last-minute e-commerce shipments” and bad weather around some of its hubs, the global shipping giant said in a statement.