As the holiday season approaches, retailers prepare for what's being described as "shiageddon."
According to Reuters, online holiday gifts purchases from major retailers will likely face major shipping delays this year. While retailers were expecting more online purchases this year due to the pandemic, the expected arrival of COVID-19 vaccines this December will make shipping and delivery more complicated.
Pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Moderna, aim to ship vaccines to U.S. healthcare workers and nursing home residents as early as mid-December. For many delivery services, including FedEx and UPS, vaccines will be prioritized over packages from major retailers, such as Target, Amazon and Walmart.
Former UPS executive Alan Amling told Reuters that many more products are shipped via air during the peak holiday season instead of through ground transportation. With limited space on air transports, commercial packages could be bumped in favor of shipping more vaccines. Delivering the vaccine during the holiday season will undoubtedly "strain the industry, but when it comes to the trade-offs, I’ll take the vaccine,” Amling said.
“It could not start at any worse time,” Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix, said of the vaccine. “Seeing how American consumers are handling the recommendations for safety during the pandemic, they will be more upset about their Christmas online orders being delayed."