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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Surge in online shopping could cause delivery delays

One expert predicts Americans will receive as many as three billion packages this holiday season.
Credit: WTHR
Gift bags on a store shelf at Boomerang BTQ off Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Since March, retailers have been shipping at holiday levels. Black Friday and Cyber Monday is adding to the surge in online shopping, making the perfect storm for delivery delays.  

The message this year is to buy early. 

One expert predicts Americans will receive as many as three billion packages this holiday season. That’s about 10 packages per person. He expects more than seven million packages per day to be delayed.

With record online sales, retailers like Target and Walmart are adding more staff to their warehouses and setting up special areas in the stores for online orders.  

But for local shops, like Boomerang BTQ off Massachusetts Avenue, it’s usually a smaller staff getting the job done. The owner Felicia Kiesel said her store went from mostly in-store purchases to more online orders and curbside pickup. 

“It’s definitely a lot more work having to promote online and send invoices for things that aren’t on the website, but times are changing, and that’s the way it is, and that’s OK,” she said.  

Currently, she sends out about 15 packages a week. Of those, she said many are delivered on time, but recently she noticed a few were delayed.  

“When shipping out of state, I’ve seen a little delay a couple of times, not always. It’s not that bad yet, but I do anticipate there will be a bigger delay closer to Christmas,” Kiesel said.  

Credit: WTHR
A shopper looks over items at Boomerang BTQ off Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis.

With small businesses being hit hard this year, she is asking her customers to be patient and continue to shop local.  

“That is how we pay the bills and put the food on the table. So even if you are just coming in to get a little magnet or something, all of that is a huge impact to us small businesses,” Kiesel said.  

The United States Postal Service said seasonal workers were hired this year to help with the increase, and they expect the busiest time of the season will be two weeks before Christmas.  

In a statement to 13News, the postal service said they're ready for the rush.

“We’ve been delivering the holidays for more than 245 years. We prepare for it all year long, and we are ready to deliver the best holiday season ever!" USPS wrote.

The postal service is offering shipping assistance, including free priority mailboxes, shipping labels, postage and next-day package pickup on its website, USPS.com.