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The holiday season is in full swing, but this year is presenting revelers with several challenges. Amid rising costs and supply-chain constraints, shipping will be more expensive and potentially face extended delays.
Estimates from the State of Holiday Shipping report from LateShipment.com indicate between 16% to 20% of packages shipped with UPS and FedEx will not arrive on time during the 2021 holiday season. And this has many Americans worried, as Loqate’s 2021 Holiday Shopper Insights Reportfound 80% of consumers are concerned with packages arriving in time for their celebrations.
Shipping prices are going up as well. USPS, FedEx and UPS are all raising prices this holiday season to meet demand, make up for rising operating costs and keep pace with inflation.
Fortunately, with careful planning, there are some ways to save. Ahead, Select spoke with Sarah Casalan Bittle, president of The UPS Store about what consumers can do to ensure a stress-free shipping experience this holiday season, regardless of which delivery service they choose.
Headlines have reiterated one common theme this holiday season: Don’t wait until the last minute.
Bittle emphasized the importance of knowing your shipping provider’s deadlines in order to get your gifts where they need to go on-time.
If you plan on shipping with UPS, its deadlines for packages to arrive before Christmas Day are:
If you plan to ship with FedEx, the deadlines for on-time Christmas arrival are:
If the United States Postal Service (USPS) is your preferred shipping method, its deadlines are:
Additionally, the longer you wait, the more expensive it will be to ship your package to ensure it reaches its destination on time. And even with next-day services, there is no guarantee your package will make it on time as delays are inevitable.
A quarter of parcels shipped via FedEx Overnight and 11.2% of parcels shipped via UPS Next Day Air were delayed during the 2020 holiday season, according to the Holiday Report from LateShipment.com.
For the sake of your wallet and keeping the holiday spirit, Bittle summarized her number-one tip in two simple words: “Ship early.”
Nothing is worse than opening a box to discover a broken or damaged gift. So if you’re shipping something fragile this holiday season, proper packaging is vital.
The same report from LateShipment.com reports that 10% of all parcels shipped are either delayed, lost or damaged.
Bittle suggests a few tips for consumers to keep their holiday presents safe and secure during transit:
The term porch-pirate has become common, especially around the holidays. According to C+R Research, 43% of respondents had at least one package stolen in 2020. If you’re shipping something of value, be sure to consider a few options:
If you’re shipping something from Amazon, you can take advantage of Amazon-branded lockers where you can pick up any items you ordered from the retailer. Once the package arrives, you’ll receive information via text on the locker location and how to retrieve the package.
Before you set out to mail your holiday gifts, look into discounts to help reduce the cost. Here are a few examples of discounts that are available:
This is not an exhaustive list: Call ahead to see what discounts your local shipping provider offers.
Additionally, if you’re shopping online, there are many ways to save on shipping costs. For example, several cards, including Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and Citi® Double Cash Card, offers free ShopRunner benefits — giving cardholders free two-day shipping from over 100 retailers. (Read our full article on how to take advantage of the ShopRunner benefit.)
The holidays can be a stressful time for many reasons, and shipping gifts to bring holiday cheer to friends and loved ones shouldn’t be one of them. While there isn’t much you can do about the rising prices and shipping delays, you can help combat them with discounts, using the right credit card and taking the necessary precautions to ensure your package arrives on time and safely.