Ordering gifts online? Better do it now for Christmas delivery

Delivery services have set quotas for e-shop orders as they struggle to meet unprecedented demand.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 02.12.2020 13:09:00 (updated on 02.12.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

If you are ordering gifts over the internet, you have to hurry. Delivery services have set daily limits on how many packages they will handle from each e-shop. Carriers will only guarantee Christmas delivery for goods ordered by mid-December.

The strengthening of the Czech crown against the euro has also made shopping from e-shops in the eurozone mare attractive. International deliveries, too, will face a bottleneck. People who wait for the crown to grow stronger may not get their goods by Christmas.

Demand far outstrips delivery capacity

Many carriers have strengthened their services with new hubs and additional staff, but it won’t be enough to handle the big increase in online shopping. While online shopping has been increasing every year, the rise this year has been much larger than expected due to the restrictions on stores because of coronavirus restrictions imposed by the government.

Carriers have set quotas for some clients on the number of shipments that they are able to deliver by Christmas. These carriers service not only Czech internet giants but also smaller e-shops, and have to manage their capacity.

“You have to realize that the transmission network has a certain capacity and we are currently in an unprecedented situation, when there is a combination of brick-and-mortar shops closed in connection with government restrictions, Black Friday and the Christmas rush. That is why we were forced to introduce daily limits. We want to satisfy all our existing customers and maintain the quality of service they are used to,” Miloš Malaník, general director of delivery service DPD, told Seznam news.

Even more orders are soon expected as many smaller shops that were closed due to government restrictions will be opening on Dec. 3, adding even more volume when people want their in-store purchases delivered.

E-shop operators are unhappy with the situation, but there is little they can do aside from informing customers about the situation.

Online orders have been up since the spring, when the first wave of coronavirus restrictions took place. Retailers expect that for the entire year, online sales will be double what they were last year.

Miloš Malaník from the delivery service GLS Česká republika told Seznam that people should order gifts immediately so that the e-shops can hand them over for delivery.

Typically, the biggest week for ordering is Dec. 14–20, which this year will be too late in many cases.

A strong crown mainly affects foreign e-shops

The Czech crown has been strengthening against the euro, which is making purchases from abroad cheaper. Since the beginning of November it has gained almost 4 percent, the largest gain against the euro since 2008.

This makes holiday shopping from abroad more attractive for Czech consumers, who will save substantially compared to what they would have paid just a month ago. But orders from other countries will just add to the overburdened delivery system. People should order sooner rather than later if they want their goods by the end of December.

But the strong crown likely won’t affect prices of imported goods in Czech shops, as many items are already in stock. An exception may be new model phones and laptops, according to analysts.

Winter trips to Austria or Italy will also become cheaper, if the epidemiological situation allows recreational travel.

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