A shorter holiday season may mean a very Merry Xmas for FedEx and UPS

FedEx may benefit from a shorter holiday season this year. Above, FedEx couriers sort packages before starting their holiday delivery routes in San Francisco, California.

Thanksgiving came late this year, leading to a compressed gift-buying and sending season. In fact, there are six fewer days to ship presents in 2013 when compared with last year. Some retail analysts think that may lead to more people paying extra for two-day or overnight shipping in order to get gifts to friends and family in time.

That could benefit companies like FedEx and UPS. Jack Atkins, a retail analyst with Stephens Inc., is relying partially on his personal experience. "I have a lot of shopping to do over the next seven days," said Atkins. "I get it done every year, but I always wait until the last minute." 

Others aren't convinced that procrastinating shoppers will give shippers a bounce.

"The difference between a four week or a five week or a three week holiday season isn't that big of a deal," said David Ross, a transportation analyst at Stifel. 

About the author

Noel King is a reporter for Marketplace's Wealth and Poverty desk.

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