‘Shop early, ship early’: Holiday shopping tips and tricks

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A recent survey from Wallethub.com shows one in three people are foregoing gift-giving this year due to the pandemic.

Even so, the U.S. Postal Service is preparing for an increased number of gifts being mailed this holiday season, with industry experts saying you should buy sooner, rather than later to avoid delayed gifts or sold out stock.

Sunday delivery will be expanded beginning November 29 to locations with high package volumes. USPS already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities.

“With COVID-19 already dramatically accelerating e-commerce, we are entering a peak season the industry has never before experienced,” Shannon Davis, Communications Advisor for FedEx, told News 2 in a statement Monday. “We’ve been preparing for what we’re calling “The Shipathon,” and we are ready to deliver for our customers.”

According to RetailMeNot, due to the pandemic causing financial stress and a need for social distancing, more consumers will shop online with deals and discounts being very influential to make a purchase. 

  • 75% of shoppers will prefer online shopping for the holiday
  • 18% plan to complete holiday shopping online only
  • Over 90% of consumers say they will not shop the traditional in-store doorbuster deals this year, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping will occur mostly online as more retailers choose to close on Thanksgiving, like Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target and more.  
  • 75% of Americans prefer to complete all holiday shopping as early as possible.
  • To be safe, 39% say they will shop earlier in the year than they typically do to avoid shipping delays or items being out of stock. There are plenty of deals to be had, but keep in mind the shopping holidays and events that will deliver the most bang for your buck.

2020 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses:

  • Dec. 9   — APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 11 — APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
  • Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
  • Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service

Alaska and Hawaii residents should check usps.com for their deadlines.

Last Day to Ship for FedEx:

  • Tuesday, Dec 15th. —  The last day to ship via FedEx Ground if you have a regular scheduled pickup or you drop off shipments at a staffed FedEx location.
  • Tuesday, Dec 15th. —  The last day to ship via FedEx Ground if you have a regularly scheduled pickup or you drop off shipments at a staffed FedEx location.
  • Tuesday, Dec 15th. —  The last day to ship via FedEx Ground if you have a regularly scheduled pickup or you drop off shipments at a staffed FedEx location.

In select markets, and for an additional fee, consumers can ship FedEx Express First Overnight and FedEx Express Priority Overnight as late as Wednesday, Dec. 23 for expected delivery by Thursday, Dec. 24.        

In addition to shopping early, it’s important to shop smart.

“This year we see that almost 41 million Americans still have credit card debt from last holiday season,” Jill Gonzalez said, an analyst at Wallethub. “Even if you do have the money to spend, I think 2020 has taught us to have a rainy day fund to have savings because who knows what’s coming in 2021. So keep it easy on the gift giving. I’d say this year really slim down your list and budget for each person.”

Strategies for Smart Shopping This Holiday according to RetailMeNot.com:

  • Start early and plan ahead
  • Set a budget
  • Do your research and price compare
  • Read the fine print and reviews
  • Don’t pay for shipping
  • Start in the back of the store
  • Follow favorite retailers

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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