With Santa’s arrival only 10 days away, many holiday shoppers will take advantage of Free Shipping Day, an annual event in which hundreds of stores offer free delivery before Christmas on purchases made online. Last-minute gift givers who checkout between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18, are guaranteed to have their parcels received by Christmas Eve.
Nearly 1,000 stores have signed up to participate this year, including such big-name retailers as Levi’s, REI, Lucky Brand, North Face and more. The deadline to get packages, letters and greeting cards to their destinations by Christmas is Dec. 20, however those who are willing to shell out additional fees for priority shipping have until Dec. 23.
A complete list of the more than 950 retailers participating in Free Shipping Day 2014 can be found on the event’s official website here. The event was started in 2008 to offer shoppers some peace of mind during the busy holiday shopping season as well as to drum up business for stores large and small. Its creators Luke and Maisie Knowles “understood last-minute purchases are as much a part of the holiday season as eggnog and poinsettias,” it reads on the site. The day was created with a “simple concept” in mind: “Give consumers what they want in a timely, convenient and affordable fashion.” Furthermore, research shows that 90 percent of shoppers will spend more when delivery is free, “while nearly half will abandon a shopping cart if met with high fees,” according to Knowles.
Market analysts expect online gift purchases this year to reach a record $86 billion, a 13 percent jump from 2013. Major delivery operators were underprepared last year for the deluge of online orders, an oversight that led to millions of gifts arriving at their destinations late. This holiday season, package shippers United Parcel Service and FedEx have taken extra steps to avoid repeating last year’s oversight.