Online retail sales are expected to grow 22% in the final three months of 2005, to roughly $26 billion, according to research firm eMarketer. "With consumers spending more time online, e-commerce will likely drive more holiday activity this season than in the past," says Gene Huang, an economist with FedEx.
Workers at FedEx are already making plans to handle about 8.5 million packages on December 12, their busiest day of the holiday season, which is about 400,000 more than last year's busiest day.
"Economic growth continues on a healthy and sustainable pace with recent indicators suggesting that the holiday season will be solid," Huang notes. "Improving trends in merchandise sales, business orders, the services sector and employment in the U.S. remain in place, and this bodes well for holiday sales."
The 8.5 million packages expected to move through the FedEx Ground and FedEx Express networks Dec. 12 represent a 40% increase from the average daily volume of 6 million. FedEx will deploy more than 250,000 employees and contractors, 674 planes and 70,000 vehicles during the holiday shipping season.