Free shipping boosts holiday sales

By Bob Townsend - bio | email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - This season of giving has been a great one for retailers so far, despite the sluggish economy.

Holiday spending is up significantly this year, and has more people spending more money in retail shops, or pointing and clicking to find the perfect present on-line.

And with shopping up, so is shipping.

Fed-Ex estimates as many as 16 million packages were processed through their system Monday. That's double the volume of a normal day and an increase of almost 13 percent over the busiest day last year.  And Fed-Ex expects to deliver more than 220 million parcels this holiday season.

Big brown is seeing green, too.  UPS will work through about 430 million packages this holiday season, many of those shipments driven by offers of free-shipping.

This year, 85 percent of online retailers, more than ever before, will offer free shipping at some point during the season.  And for the first time many allowing customers to set it all up and track those packages from their smart phones.

Technology though, that is lost on one longtime delivery service, where the boss still works from a handwritten list but has never missed an on time delivery.

Shipping companies advise if you still have packages to get delivered, get them to the shippers before the end of this week.  If you wait until next week, you will be paying some higher fees.

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