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Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2020: What You Need to Know

With the 2020 holiday shipping deadlines quickly approaching, there are so many predictions this year’s peak season will see unprecedented shipping volumes, some have referred to it as “Shipaggedon.” The reasons for the doomsday forecast?

  • There’s a substantial influx of consumers shopping online for the holidays. In fact, the best guess right now is that online sales will grow in 2020 by 25% to 35%, which translates into a big increase in both domestic and international parcel shipping compared to the same time frame last year.
  • People are foregoing their usual holiday parties, which means many will mail gifts to friends and family they might normally see in person.
  • A second wave of the pandemic and new series of lockdowns has once again triggered a surge in online orders of essential goods.
2020 holiday shipping deadlines print
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It’s also important to note, stores are planning for lower-than-average in-store sales. It doesn’t make sense for retailers to stock inventory that won’t be sold, and they don’t want to invest in inventory that’s likely to stay on shelves for months. For the consumer, this means there will be fewer products available, and shopping early makes the most sense.

Pay Attention to the Dates

To survive Shipaggedon and make sure packages arrive on time, consumers need to know their shipping deadlines. Each carrier is expecting delays and they’re proactively letting customers know their “ship by” dates:

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

The United States Postal Service has its shipping schedule posted online with helpful tips. They typically experience their busiest time of year about two weeks before Christmas. According to their website, the USPS is gearing up for a season that is projected to be busier than usual. Here are some of the dates to which you need to pay attention if you’re shipping through the USPS:

  • Ground Mail: Ground service is the most budget-friendly, but it also takes the longest. If you’re sending packages through ground service, you need to mail them earlier. December 15 is the last date to mail most packages by ground service to ensure they are delivered on time. December 6 is the last date to mail any packages to military or diplomatic post office addresses. If you’re shipping care packages to service members, make sure you send them extra early.
  • First-Class Mail: December 18 is the last date to mail first-class mail and have it delivered on time. December 11 is the last date to mail first-class or priority mail to military or diplomatic post office addresses.
  • Priority Mail: December 19 is the last day to send packages by Priority Mail.
  • Priority Express: December 23 is the last day to send packages Priority Mail Express.

Some area codes and locations may have different schedules. Check your local post office to verify what their schedule is or visit the USPS website to verify any changes to the shipping schedule as the season progresses.

FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines

FedEx has updated its schedule for holiday shipping on its website. You’ll notice some of the dates are earlier than in years past. You can still use the same day and priority overnight shipping options, but you can expect to pay more for these options.

  • Overnight should be mailed by December 23.
  • The same day delivery option is available on December 25.
  • For FedEx Ground and Home delivery, which are some of the most cost-effective options, you need to send your packages by December 15.
  • The FedEx Saver and 3-Day Freight packages need to be shipped by December 21.

UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

UPS has their shipping options available on their website, along with the dates their locations are closed. Here is an overview of your time-table to ship with UPS:

  • December 15 is the last day to send packages using UPS Ground Service.
  • December 21 is the last day to send packages using UPS3 Day Select.
  • December 22 is the last day to send packages using UPS2nd Day Air.
  • December 23 is the last day to send packages using UPS Next Day Air.

If you’re planning to send packages using the standard ground service, December 15 is the universal deadline to have everything shipped. After this date, you’ll need to use a more expensive option in order to have your packages delivered on time.

Accommodate Consumers this Peak Season – and Beyond

The escalating delivery capacity shortage and increasing e-commerce volumes continue to raise the stakes for many businesses. Companies that can invest in a multi-carrier shipping system that creates flexibility and diversity in fulfillment stand a better chance of keeping costs in check. If you’re a shipper looking to add new carrier services to your transportation network to better accommodate consumers this peak season and beyond, contact a Logistyx expert today.