Overloaded Lunar New Year Orders

This year, the situation of overloaded delivery during the Lunar New Year holiday is happening earlier than usual.




The demand for online sales and shipping orders increases significantly in the days leading up to Tet holiday. Not only the sellers and delivery people, but also the recipients are under pressure.

Difficulties in delivering orders on time

Starting from December 29 (January 19th), Ba Thuc Food Limited Liability Company, specializing in selling products on TikTokShop, has suspended receiving orders to be shipped to other provinces, instead of waiting until December 22 (January 13th) as planned due to concerns about overloaded shipping companies. Mr. Phan Minh Thuc, co-founder of Ba Thuc Food, said that since the company conducts business in the food sector, if they receive orders that they cannot deliver, the returned goods will incur significant losses, including transportation fees (both to and from), packaging costs, not to mention damaged goods.

Currently, Ba Thuc Food only accepts orders in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Customers need to pay in advance, and the company will use Ahamove delivery service to deliver the products on the same day. In addition, the company has recently opened a store for direct sales until January 29th.

Ms. Huynh Thi My Tien, manager of an online shoe shop (District 3, Ho Chi Minh City), complains that the Tet holiday delivery orders of her shop are being delayed. Many in-city orders take up to 2 days, customers complain, and those who have returned to their hometowns require the shippers to return the goods. “The days leading up to Tet are very tough. For every 10 orders, there are at least 1-2 orders that have to be returned because delivery cannot be made on time for customers. I have a customer in Di An (Binh Duong) who ordered a pair of sneakers. It took almost 5 days to deliver from Ho Chi Minh City to there. They thought it took too long, so they refused to receive it,” said Ms. Tien.

Ms. Nguyen Thanh Nhan, an online salesperson at a cosmetics company in Ho Chi Minh City, said that at this time, the orders delivered through shipping companies are often delayed. It can easily be seen that the baskets and bags of shippers are always full. “Normally, people would inquire about the price and then hesitate before placing an order. Therefore, there is a backlog of orders, which affects not only shippers but also us. We have to work overtime for 3-4 hours to pack and deliver the goods to customers,” Ms. Nhan shared.

Representatives of the fast delivery service, J&T Express, admitted that the delivery market is extremely busy. The number of orders during Tet doubles or even triples compared to normal days. Compared to the same period last year, the volume of orders increases by about 20%. According to a representative from Viettel Post, the volume of orders during Tet holidays increased by 80%, and there were times when the volume reached nearly 1.6 million orders per day.

The post offices of delivery companies are always filled with goods. Photo: Nguyen Hai

Not necessarily due to online shopping boom

Dr. Do Quang Huy, an e-commerce expert, believed that this year, the overload in delivery occurred earlier than previous years, especially in the northern region, where the freezing weather made it difficult to deliver goods. “Many shippers take Tet holiday leave early when they see that the reward and working conditions during the peak days are not good, which exacerbates the severity of the overload situation,” said Dr. Huy.

This forces online sellers to deal with the situation by sending their employees to post offices to ship goods, changing delivery service providers, using passenger cars for shipping, and even taking Tet holiday leave early. “From January 23rd, customers who want to have their goods delivered before Tet are very lucky. Therefore, it is best for consumers to buy goods directly to ensure they receive them,” Dr. Huy said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nguyen Manh Tan, Marketing Director of Haravan (a company providing e-commerce and retail solutions), believed that due to the difficult economy, consumers have been shopping later, leading to overload, rather than because of the online shopping boom. “In reality, the purchasing power during the pre-Tet mega sales was still slow. Customers only started buying goods 3-4 weeks before Tet, so delivery companies cannot handle the surge in orders. Furthermore, during Tet, many small sellers who are not experts sell homemade food and local specialties, causing additional overload for delivery companies,” Mr. Tan said.

According to Mr. Tan, delivery companies, after a period of investment and discounting for sellers and shippers, have to optimize profits and tighten their policies with shippers, making it difficult to attract workers to work during the Tet period.

Delivery companies also acknowledged the overload situation, apologized to customers, and responded by opening more delivery routes. For example, Giao Hang Nhanh sent a 45-page notice to customers about the closed delivery routes, and some routes were planned to be reopened before Tet but are also expected to be suspended until February 14th (the end of the Tet holiday peak period). In Ho Chi Minh City, the company suspended delivery to 9 wards in District 1, Binh Thanh, Tan Binh, and Binh Tan. In District 1, the wards of Ben Nghe, Pham Ngu Lao, and Ben Thanh are expected to resume delivery after February 14th. The reason the company provided is that some delivery routes are currently overloaded, and the estimated delivery time will be delayed compared to normal days.

While small retailers are worried about not being able to deliver goods to customers before Tet, major e-commerce platforms in Vietnam have proactively implemented scenarios to ensure stable shipping and delivery, avoiding backlogs, overload, and delays in delivery for customers. For example, Shopee guarantees that the delivery service will operate normally until February 8th (January 29th). Therefore, customers should make purchases before this deadline to ensure that the products have enough time to prepare and deliver.

Lazada requires sellers to process any orders generated until February 6th (January 27th). In particular, for products marked as “Fast delivery within 24 hours,” the deadline for placing an order is 12:00 PM on February 7th (January 28th). However, according to shop owners, these are operating regulations of the platforms, so customers should discuss with the sellers in advance to ensure that orders can be delivered before Tet holiday or not.



Delivery mistakes made by shippers

Over the past few days, Ms. Ngoc Bich (living in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City) has been going up and down the apartment building 5-7 times a day to send goods, receive goods, and … find goods. From gifts for family, Tet holiday shopping, fruits, daily necessities, etc., she has ordered them and is waiting for the shippers to deliver. “I always clearly state the apartment number, lobby, tower, and the name of the apartment building on every order, but many shippers don’t pay attention, so they still deliver to the wrong building. A friend of mine sent me something at the LD tower of the apartment building, but the shippers delivered it to the warehouse at the LE tower, a few hundred meters away. As a result, both me, the security guards, and the receptionists of the apartment building had to go with the shippers to find it,” Ms. Bich said.

According to a representative from Gojek, the number of orders using the GoSend delivery service has been increasing rapidly, with a two-digit increase compared to the previous week. While the number of driver partners working during this period tends to decrease due to many people returning to their hometowns and taking leave, causing overloads. “Gojek has to apply some holiday surcharges for transportation fees to compensate driver partners,” the Gojek representative said.




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