How UPS could make your holiday shopping more expensive this year

You may think it’s too early to start thinking about holiday shopping. However, UPS just make it more expensive to ship packages during the company’s busiest time. For the first time, it plans to add a surcharge to all U.S. packages in November and December.

The extra fees vary by date, coinciding with the busiest days of the year for the delivery service. Between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2, UPS will add 27 cents per package for all ground shipments to residential addresses. Then, from Dec. 17-23, the 27-cent fee returns, along with an extra 81 cents for next-day air and 97 cents for two- or three-day delivery, according to Consumerist.

The delivery company decided to “marginally increase” per-package costs to help offset the company’s expenses during its busiest season.

“We’re focused on helping our customers achieve success during some of their most important selling seasons,” said Alan Gershenhorn, UPS Chief Commercial Officer in a press statement. “To meet their requirements, UPS flexes its delivery network to process near double our already massive regular daily volume, and that creates exceptional demands.”

The company delivered 30 million packages each day on more than half of its available shipping days. On a regular day, UPS delivers about 19 million packages. To meet that holiday demand, UPS hired nearly 95,000 seasonal employees. Plus, the company leases additional planes and trucks, as well as rents temporary facilities.

UPS photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

How UPS Surcharge Affects Shoppers

Retailers now must decide on how to handle the extra shipping costs. Some may decide to raise their prices to combat the extra expense. Others may choose to reduce their discounts on certain items. Ultimately, store owners may opt to work around the company entirely.

“This will add up to be another unaccounted for expense during the holiday season,” Patrick Gill, chief executive of fishing gear website told The Wall Street Journal. “It will force us to push some product away from UPS in some cases.”

So, remember to add a little extra into your holiday shopping budget this year. Especially if you plan to shop from home or ship those annual holiday packages.