Ahead of one of the busiest weeks for shipping holiday gifts, Target and the U.S. Postal Service are warning of potential delays.
For shoppers who recently placed online orders at Target, the retailer’s app warned of “potential shipping delays” and says some orders “may be affected by high shipping volumes nationwide.”
In an alert on the top of its website, the Postal Service says it is “experiencing unprecedented package increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience and remain committed to delivering the holidays to you.”
Tuesday is the deadline for ground shipping for UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Services, which are almost identical to 2019 deadlines.
The delays are not unexpected as companies have been urging shoppers to place orders early amid the coronavirus pandemic as more shoppers have been shopping online.
Adobe Analytics recommended buying gifts before Dec. 11, saying it predicts shipping costs will begin to rise after that date, “erasing some of the value consumers are getting from holiday deals.”
A number of retailers, including J.C. Penney, Lowe’s and Kohl’s, are telling shoppers they need to place their online orders soon or else pay expedited shipping fees if they want to get their packages delivered in time for the holidays.
Bath & Body Works said in a Facebook post that its deadline is Sunday: “’tis the season to order early online to avoid shipping delays in this super-busy season!” the retailer wrote. “Order online by Dec 13 for Christmas delivery.”
The earlier-than-usual deadlines come as more people turn to online shopping during the pandemic, creating a logjam for shipping companies as well as delivery delays. For some retailers, like H&M and Lego, the deadlines have passed.
According to Adobe, online holiday sales are expected to trounce previous records, leaping 33% over 2019 to $189 billion in the U.S., Adobe predicts they will send presents directly to 18% more people this year, increasing the pressure on delivery pipelines.
Sara Skirboll, RetailMeNot shopping and trends expert, said shoppers should read the fine print before ordering because even if a store is promising two-day shipping, it could take days before it leaves the warehouse.
Contributing: Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko