Amazon.com employees organize outbound packages at an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center in Phoenix.
(Des Moines Register) -- Today is a good time to finish - or, for some, start - that Christmas shopping list.
because more than 800 retailers are participating in Free Shipping Day,
which promises free delivery by Christmas Eve with no minimum purchase.
holiday, a commercial creation like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, has
ballooned since being created in 2008, with sales from participating
retailers topping $1 billion each of the past two years.
Retailer List: Visit FreeShippingDay.com
offering free shipping, which includes those like Younkers,
Overstock.com and Scheels, are often targeting last-minute shoppers,
said Ron Prescott, a retail specialist with Iowa State University
"It's a last-ditch effort for (retailers) to capture
some of those sales," he said. "They have become very competitive with
And there should be plenty of last-minute shoppers to
capture, thanks in part to an abbreviated shopping season due to
Thanksgiving's late spot on the calendar.
As of Dec. 9, shoppers
were on average 49.5 percent finished with their Christmas lists and an
estimated 32 million had not yet begun shopping, according to the
National Retail Federation.
Free Shipping Day, Prescott said,
allows stores to challenge online shopping giants like Amazon, which
offers free two-day shipping year-round through Amazon Prime, its
$79-a-year premium service.
Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart are among the large online retailers not participating in Free Shipping Day.
shipping or not, online shopping is expected to grow this year. The
National Retail Federation expects a 13 percent to 15 percent increase.
And that will mean more packages being dropped on doorsteps in the
The Postal Service predicts that more letters will be
sent today and more packages will be sent Thursday than any other days
of the year. In Des Moines, the number of packages processed tonight is
expected to be roughly double the average weeknight.
Nationwide, the Postal Service expects the number of packages sent this holiday season to climb 12 percent to 420 million.
which estimates that 40 percent of its business comes from e-commerce,
expects to deliver 132 million packages this week, making it the
company's busiest of the year. Many of those packages were picked up
Monday and delivered Tuesday, which UPS predicted would be its two
busiest days of the year.
For FedEx, the busiest week of the year came after Black Friday, when the company delivered an estimated 85 million packages.