It’s been reported that as of 2018, smartphones accounted for 63% of all retail website visits. Of course, nearly three years later, that percentage has likely skyrocketed. The holiday season and the COVID-19 pandemic kicked up the “perfect storm” for the U.S. Postal Service last month as millions of Americans chose to shop online for everyday necessities and holiday gifts. As a result, many gifts did not arrive on time as USPS offices struggled to keep up with the high volume of delivery demands.
James Boxrud, a Colorado USPS spokesperson reported historical mail volume, saying about the holiday season, “This week is our busiest week, of our busiest month, of our busiest year ever. We are seeing so many packages.”
With so much mail lining facilities’ roller conveyors (which were first patented in 1908), the Postal Service quickly became overwhelmed and warned of potential long delays. The Washington Post reported that about 19,000 of the Postal Service’s 644,000 workers were quarantined upon testing positive for COVID-19. Between higher demand for deliveries and fewer workers, mail performance dropped significantly; only 75% of first-class mail arrived during the promised window.
On Monday, December 21, USPS delivered 971,000 packages in Colorado and Wyoming. To keep up, many postal workers put in overtime and even worked into Christmas Eve to deliver packages. According to Boxrud, some express mail was expected to arrive to consumers on Christmas Day.
Fortunately for Amazon shoppers in Colorado, the online retail giant has announced plans to add a third package delivery station in Colorado Springs as it expands its local delivery network. According to city government planners’ recent proposal, Amazon intends to take over the Western Forge hand tool manufacturing complex on the northwest side of Colorado Springs. The facility recently closed after more than 50 years of toolmaking.
The new warehouse and distribution center would operate as a delivery station making “last mile” deliveries to consumers. It’s important to note that the name “Amazon” was not specified in the proposal; however, it did mention that a portion of onsite parking would be reserved for “AMZL” management — the acronym for Amazon Logistics. In 2018, approximately 4.2 million heavy commercial vehicles and just over 20 million light commercial vehicles were produced around the globe, and Amazon delivery vehicles are some of the most recognizable.
Of course, putting more resources into Amazon deliveries and fulfillment won’t necessarily help the U.S. Postal Service. Shipping volumes have remained overwhelming in the early weeks of 2021, and postal workers are still experiencing a backlog.