2018 Holiday Shipping Spotlight

As online holiday shopping reaches an all time high, Convey is tracking the latest in delivery trends through the holidays.

2018 Holiday Shipment Growth

For Convey customers, 2018 Thanksgiving week shipments grew substantially year over year. In particular, less-than-truckload shipments increased 638% between Thanksgiving-Sunday in 2018 compared to 2017, suggesting that consumers are increasingly taking advantage of holiday specials to order large home items for themselves. Additionally, the growth in shipments was more pronounced at the beginning of the holiday week, representative of the fact that many retailers continue to push discounts earlier in the holiday season.

This year, growth in shipments outpaced the growth being reported for sales and orders. This suggests a combination of lower average order values and increased shipments per order as retailers work to increasingly localize inventory and take advantage of drop shippers to ensure each item is delivered quickly.

2018 Holiday Shipping Speeds

Pressure from Amazon has led more shippers to offer fast, free shipping during the holiday season, but how does that translate to selected shipping speeds during the holiday week? 2018 saw a 4x rise in two-day shipping, however demand for upgrades, such as same or next day, either decreased or remained flat. Overall, slower (and likely free) shipping options continue to be in most demand during the Thanksgiving holiday week. Notably, this year did see a shift away from postal injection service levels which handoff to the United States Postal Service for final delivery. These shipments largely shifted to standard ground delivery services indicating that retailers are increasingly focused on ensuring ease of tracking and delivery date accuracy during the holidays.

Standardized Parcel Service Levels

Service Level Definition Relative Cost
Same Day These are parcel deliveries guaranteed to arrive within the same day as pickup/dropoff. $$$$$$
Next Day These are parcel deliveries guaranteed to arrive within the next business day from pickup/dropoff. $$$$$
Two Day These are parcel deliveries with guaranteed delivery within 2 business days from pickup/dropoff. $$$$
Three-Five Day These are parcel deliveries with guaranteed delivery within 5 business days from pickup/dropoff. $$$
Ground These are parcel deliveries which may or may not have a guaranteed delivery deadline. These deliveries can range between 2-8 business days from pickup/dropoff. $$
Postal Injection Service These are parcel deliveries that utilize a handoff to the post office for the final delivery to the customer. Delivery is typically 1 day slower than ground shipping $

Other holiday shopping data you may be interested in:

Holiday Shopping Reaches A Record High

According to a report by Retail Dive based on data from Adobe Analytics:

  • Wednesday, Shoppers spent $2.4 billion online, +31.8% from 2017
  • Shoppers spent $3.7 billion online on Thanksgiving, +28% from 2017
  • Shoppers spent $6.22 billion online by the end of Black Friday, +23.6% from 2017
  • Shoppers spent $7.9 billion online by the end of Cyber Monday, +19.3% from 2017
  • Store pickups of online orders rose 73% over Thanksgiving and Black Friday compared to 2017 and 65% on Cyber Monday

165 Million Shopped over Thanksgiving Weekend

According to the National Retail Federation:

  • 165 million people shopped from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday
  • The average shopper spent $313 on gifts over the five-day period
  • More than 89 Million people shopped both online and in store, +40% from 2017
  • 79% of shoppers (131.1M) did at least some portion of their shopping online
  • Top purchases over the weekend included apparel (bought by 57 percent of those surveyed), toys (34 percent), books and video games (29 percent), electronics (26 percent) and gift cards (20 percent).