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This One Stat Explains Why Amazon Leads E-Tail in the Holiday Shipping Time Crunch

A tale of two numbers tells you all you need to know about winning e-commerce in the holiday shopping wars: 3.6 and 6.3.

According to a blog post penned by Rakuten Intelligence analyst Ken Cassar, Amazon ferried orders to customers in just 3.6 days from click to door for purchases made Thanksgiving week, while everyone in the e-commerce game took nearly three days longer—6.3 days on average.

The Seattle tech firm’s reputation for reliability and consistency is why one shopper told The New York Times that after Best Buy bungled her order, she decided to get the replacement through Amazon “because I know for a fact it will be here when they say it will.”

Amazon’s logistics prowess and sprawling network of fulfillment centers are virtually unmatched in U.S. retail. Though competitors are playing catch-up now, Amazon’s early investments enable a head start that’s incredibly difficult to match for retailers without the company’s deep pockets and money-printing cloud business.

What’s more, those difference-making logistics investment continue full speed ahead with the news that Amazon’s strengthening its partnership with Air Transport Services Group, Inc., the company through which it leases 20 Boeing 767 freighter aircraft as part of a 40-strong Amazon Air fleet that transports “hundreds of thousands of packages” daily. Now Amazon said in a press release it will add 10 more cargo planes from ATSG into its total fleet over the next 24 months.

“By expanding the Amazon Air network through our partnership with ATSG we’re able to ensure we have the capacity to quickly and efficiently deliver packages to customers for years to come,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said. ­Amazon planes service 20 airports across the country, bringing two-day shipping to most of the population.

Amazon might be the undisputed leader in lightning-fast delivery speeds but Rakuten Intelligence’s data finds that overall, retailers are getting better at trimming their fulfillment times this year, as of Dec. 17. Click-to-door speeds averaged 5.0 days across all online merchants, a welcome year-on-year decline from 5.5 days in 2017. The best news? The time savings stem from greater efficiency inside fulfillment centers rather than “expensive improvements in delivery time.”

“Historically, the improvements that consumers have enjoyed in ‘click-to-door’ speed (the time from clicking ‘buy’ to delivery) have come almost exclusively from quicker delivery so faster turnaround times are a welcomed sight for retailer’s pocket books,” Cassar wrote.