FedEx expecting record day of shipments

Julia Coronado Dec 12, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Today FedEx is expecting to ship 17 million packages. That would be up from last year’s peak of 15.6 million in a single day. And it’ll be the busiest day in the company’s 40 year history.

Julia Coronado is chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas. She joins us now live from New York as she does every Monday. Good morning.

Julia Coronado: Good morning.

Hobson: So Julia, how is it possible that in this relatively weak economy that Fed Ex is about to have its busiest day ever?

Coronado: Well, I think that it reflects a pretty significant trend away from shopping in stores to shopping online. And in fact, we now that consumers actually now go to the stores, pick out what they want, and then go and find the best deal possible online.

The second thing it reflects is that people are buying more electronics this season and fewer clothing items. So that means you don’t have to try on an electronic, you can just pick what you want and order it online.

Hobson: We often look to these big shipping companies like FedEx and UPS for messages about how the broader economy is doing because they have this “front row seat” to trade between people and between companies. What is the broader message here, do you think?

Coronado: Well, I mean, I think the overall picture is a little more mixed than just looking at the FedEx report. If we look at, say, for example, port data, that looks at all things coming into the U.S. — that actually shows a more subdued picture. So again, I think the online manufacturers and retailers are doing well, but consumers are overall very price-sensitive and still on the cautious side.

And one thing that they are also doing is shifting a little bit more towards domestically produced goods, and that’s particularly true in the auto sector. And we certainly see the domestic auto manufacturers picking up market share. So you get a little bit less coming from overseas, a little more purchase here at home.

Hobson: Julia Coronado is chief economist with the investment bank
BNP Paribas. Julia, thanks as always.

Coronado: It’s a pleasure.

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