Delivery giant UPS on Tuesday (Feb. 2) announced fourth-quarter 2020 consolidated revenue of $24.9 billion, a 21 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2019. Operating profit was up 26 percent compared to last year’s fourth quarter.
In a press release, the company reported that for the year, it pulled in the highest revenues ($84.6 billion) and “adjusted diluted earnings per share” (at $8.23) in company history.
“Our financial performance in the fourth quarter exceeded our expectations, and I thank all UPSers for their extraordinary efforts to deliver industry-leading service through the holidays,” said Carol Tomé, UPS chief executive officer.
She pointed to hope for the new year, noting that UPS began delivering COVID-19 vaccines in the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31.
However, the company declined to provide revenue or earnings per share guidance for the current quarter, attributing that to “continued economic uncertainty due to the global pandemic.”
The 2020 holiday season did see a huge boom in online sales, which hit a record $188.2 billion, according to an analysis from Adobe Digital Insights. That’s up 32 percent over the same time the previous year, ADI said. Online spending during the two-month holiday shopping period was, for the first time, over $1 billion every day, and Cyber Monday sales went past $10 billion. In addition, many shoppers ordered goods online and picked them up in-store. That method comprised around one in four orders during the holiday season, ADI said.
As the online surge hit shippers in December, UPS imposed shipping restrictions on some large retailers such as Gap, Nike, L.L. Bean, Hot Topic, Newegg and Macy’s. A UPS spokesman said at the time that the company would pick up packages from customers whose “demand exceeded allocated space” once more capacity becomes available.