Just a week after FedEx said it was boosting its holiday hiring by 27%, UPS has announced it will add 100,000 season workers to handle the increased shipping demand during the season, as more consumers turn to online shopping channels during the ongoing pandemic.
“We expect another record peak season this year, with daily package deliveries nearly doubling compared to our average of 20 million per day,” COO Jim Barber said in a statement. The full- and part-time seasonal positions are primarily package handlers, drivers and driver-helpers, according to the company.
This hiring blitz follows earlier staffing surges at the logistics firm to address unusually high levels of package deliveries this year. According to reports, UPS brought in 39,000 new workers to its U.S. division during the second quarter.
E-commerce orders surged in the spring, when brick-and-mortar stores were forced to close and consumers turned to digital channels to purchase essential and nonessential goods.
Even after retailers began reopening their doors, online sales remained high: A Mastercard SpendingPulse report found that U.S. e-commerce sales rose by 92.7% in May alone. And that trend continued into the summer, as noted by Journeys parent Genesco Inc., which reported 144% digital comp sales growth during the second quarter ended Aug. 1.
Experts are predicting that the upcoming holiday season could see even a greater surge in buying, both online and in-store, offering some welcome good news for retailers that have been struggling to pull themselves out of the economic blight of the spring.
Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor for retail at The NPD Group Inc., wrote in a blog post this week, “The 2020 holiday retail season may be shaping up to be quite different in the U.S., and most certainly interesting, but it won’t be a bust.”
He noted that consumers are facing a number of distractions this fall, including the ongoing health crisis, a rocky back-to-school season and a contentious upcoming election. “But it’s not enough to take away from the spirit of giving that drives the holiday retail season — the season’s distractions could actually play in the favor of some categories and shopping channels,” he wrote.
In particular, he said fashion apparel and accessories might see an increase in activity after being neglected earlier in the year in favor of tech and fitness purchases. “Pent-up demand and a general desire for something different could make holiday their time to shine,” Cohen said.