The USPS flew far beyond its expected performance during the 2014 holiday gift-giving season, and in the process shattered a new record for most packages delivered in a single day in its more than 40-year history.
The U.S. Postal Service announced Tuesday (Jan. 6) that in the whole of December 2014 it delivered 524 million packages – 18 percent more than were delivered in December 2013. The service hit its busiest day ever on Dec. 22, with 28 million packages landing on doorsteps and 463 million pieces of mail delivered in a single day.
The new milestones, which surpassed initial expectations, can be partially attributed to the USPS adding Sunday delivery service during the peak of delivery season; according to reports, more than 20 million packages were delivered on the five Sundays before Christmas Day. Christmas Day itself saw 118,000 packages delivered by the USPS.
Sunday delivery was not met without criticism, however. Reports emerged last month that USPS workers and even its own Inspector General denounced Sunday delivery as a service that wears down employees and costs too much.
In the USPS’s announcement, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Donohoe commended the “dedication and resolve” of its employees for helping to achieve their successes, and suggested that retailers are increasingly turning to the USPS for services. “The volume this holiday season demonstrates that retailers and consumers increasingly are turning to the Postal Service to deliver their packages,” he said.
And while gift-giving is certainly a booming time for the Postal Service, gift-returning season doesn’t hurt either. The USPS said in its announcement that it anticipates “holiday volume through January as consumers use the mail to return holiday gifts,” and reminded customers that its Priority Mail packaging is offered for free both online and in Post Offices.
The USPS is working to overcome rivals like FedEx and UPS with its package delivery service. The company announced this week that it has expanded its same-day delivery service to Washington, D.C., adding to a list of cities that includes San Francisco and New York City.