Consumers and merchants alike have likely experienced delayed shipments since the onset of COVID. The USPS, FedEx, and UPS have each felt the stresses of increased demand on their operations. USPS has been hit especially hard by the stress ecommerce has placed on carriers. Delivering to every address every day is demanding. Even down to last-mile delivery, USPS trucks are small. And in more rural areas, drivers use their own vehicles. Compounding this with the growing demand, the USPS has had to increase rates on different services. For instance, dimensional weight and Media Mail parcels have begun seeing sharper price increases than in years past. Now, First Class Mail is getting a longer delivery window.
How Long Will USPS First Class Mail Take to Deliver?
Effective October 1st, 2021, USPS First Class Mail will now be a 3-5 day delivery window instead of 2-3 days. This further separates First Class Mail and Priority Mail—whose transit time is still 1-3 days. If you need a more express option for your parcels weighing under one pound, Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express are still available for a slightly higher cost.
Will USPS First Class Mail International be Impacted?
USPS First Class Mail International is not impacted by the extended delivery window or the peak season surcharge. This is due, in part, to the fact that First Class Mail International does not have to meet expected delivery windows the way domestic services do. So while it is possible that First Class Mail International parcels will experience delays, it is not having a service-level change in the way domestic First Class Mail is. For more express international shipping options, USPS Priority Mail provides faster delivery options while also offering affordable rates.
What Other Changes is the USPS Experiencing this Holiday Season?
In addition to a slower First Class Mail transit time, there will also be a USPS peak season shipping surcharge. This has only recently been in place for USPS, but FedEx and UPS tend to enact one during the holiday season each year. Keep in mind that these are peak surcharges that will last from October 2021 and end in January 2022. These are not the same as the annual rate increase. But it could be in line with what to expect for the coming year’s rate increases.
How to Stay on Top of Shipping This Holiday Season
Even though First Class Mail is slowing, it is still the best option for parcels weighing less than 1 lb. The best ways to accommodate to these longer delivery times are to ship items out more quickly, know when you need to ship orders out, and finding affordable ways to use other shipping services.
Know the Holiday Shipping Deadlines
Many holiday shipments need to arrive by Christmas (December 25th). Knowing when the last day you can ship a package out and it still make final delivery is of the utmost importance. ShipStation has these shipping cutoff dates logged for all carriers.
Find Shipping Discounts
ShipStation offers discounts on carriers that are offered to you simply by signing up for a trial account. Save up to 60% on USPS and UPS services within your ShipStation account. You can also automate your shipping workflow with features like shipping rules, cloud printing, and scan-based packing and fulfillment workflows. The more time you save, the more money you save. Luckily, ShipStation helps you do both.
To save time and money on shipping First Class parcels as well as other services, try ShipStation free for 90 days.