2018 holiday season delivers strong results and signs of change for parcel carriers

From the Wall Street Journal Logistics Report:

Retailers and parcel carriers are delivering strong results along with signals of steep changes in sales and shipping patterns this holiday season.

Early measures suggest stores met lofty sales expectations, the WSJ’s Sarah Nassauer and Paul Ziobro report, as Americans crowded stores and retailers wrapped up one of the strongest holiday seasons in years. U.S. retail sales rose 5.2% from Nov. 1 to Dec. 19, and Mastercard SpendingPulse says online sales rose 18.3% during that time and accounted for a record 13% of total sales.

In-store sales grew 4.3%. The delivery backbone of the online economy has held up, with ShipMatrix Inc. reporting on-time performance at FedEx Corp. and the U.S. Postal Service was on track with last year while United Parcel Service Inc. improved its deliveries thanks to extra capacity and new technology. Those efforts suggest carriers have new lessons from this season to take into 2019.