The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of our daily lives and now it could be coming for free shipping.
UPS announced a hefty increase in shipping costs this holiday season due to an influx of packages as more people turn to online shopping.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the increase would start at $3 more for a single ground shipment and $4 for air shipments.
The increases are aimed to cope with a crushing volume of deliveries during the holiday shopping season.
Going into effect from mid-November through mid-January, the additional costs apply to customers and businesses who ship upwards of 25,000 packages a week.
“UPS continues to provide essential service amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to support the needs of our customers,” the memo said. “Our goal is to ensure businesses and customers are able to meet their shipping needs while demand has increased for shipping services.”
How does this affect consumers? Well, if companies are being charged more to ship your online orders, the average consumer could wind up paying more in shipping rates per purchase.
“This could be the last we see of free shipping,” said Cathy Morrow Roberson, founder of Logistics Trends & Insights told Reuters.
Many retailers have seen a decline in sales and profit amid the pandemic largely due to store shutdowns and closures. Customers are also spending less money because of mass layoffs and furloughs, which has led to an increase in unemployment.
Added shipping charges are simply another blow to already struggling retailers, who will be forced to find ways to offset the costs either by absorbing shipping fees, ending free shipping options on select orders, or raising the prices of goods.
The outlet notes that UPS declined to reveal how many high-volume customers would be directly affected by the increase.
According to Reuters, Amazon, UPS’ largest client, declined to comment if they would be altering their shipping formula.
Currently, the online giant offers free shipping and “same day or one day delivery” for Amazon Prime customers.