Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021: USPS, UPS, FedEx

Spending is expected to boom this holiday season. A number of new studies indicate a surge in retail sales to close out 2021, including:

  • Bain predicts sales across November and December will surpass $800 billion, a 7% increase compared to the same months in 2020.
  • Deloitte expects retail sales to grow between 7% and 9% in 2021, surpassing the 5.8% growth experienced in 2020.
  • Mastercard sees holiday sales climbing 7.4% year-over-year and 11.1% on a two-year basis.

A big portion of holiday retail sales will take place online — about 18.9% of the total. Of course, these online transactions will occur at a time when shipping times are lengthy and a global supply chain crisis has slowed the movement of goods and the materials needed to make goods. 

With surging demand and significant supply chain challenges expected to continue through the end of the year, leading parcel carriers have announced their holiday shipping deadlines. When is the last possible time you can ship a package and expect it to arrive for Christmas? Here are answers to that question from the USPS, UPS and FedEx.

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021

The USPS has already announced temporary price adjustments to help offset the end-of-year cost of serving higher demand. If you’re shipping with the USPS this holiday season, here are the holiday shipping deadlines for various services:

  • Retail Ground™: Wednesday, Dec. 15
  • First Class Mail®: Friday, Dec. 17
  • Priority Mail®: Saturday, Dec. 18
  • Priority Mail Express®: Thursday, Dec. 23

The deadlines above apply to shipping within the United States. Get the details on the USPS’s international shipping deadlines.

UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021

UPS is also adding peak surcharges to its shipments, effective Oct. 17 and running until further notice. Here’s a look at holiday shipping deadlines when using UPS as your carrier:

  • Ground: Get a quote in real-time
  • 3 Day Select®: Tuesday, Dec. 21
  • 2nd Day Air® Services: Wednesday, Dec. 22
  • Next Day Air® Services: Thursday, Dec. 23

The deadlines above apply to shipping within the U.S. Shipping to foreign countries? Check here for details on the relevant holiday shipping deadlines.

FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2021

Similar to the USPS, FedEx has announced temporary price increases and surcharges for 2021 holiday shipping. Here’s a look at your cutoff dates for getting FedEx shipments to their destinations by Dec. 25:

  • FedEx SmartPost®: Thursday, Dec. 9 (some exceptions)
  • FedEx Ground®: Wednesday, Dec. 15
  • Home Delivery®: Wednesday, Dec. 15
  • Express Saver®: Tuesday, Dec. 21
  • 2Day® Services: Wednesday, Dec. 22
  • Overnight® Services: Thursday, Dec. 23

Again, the deadlines above apply to shipments within the United States. Get more information on FedEx’s international holiday shipping deadlines.

Solve Shipping This Holiday Season With ShipEngine

When you operate an ecommerce business, you have products and customers and growth to worry about. You don’t have time to solve shipping on your own. That’s where ShipEngine comes in.

Integrate once with ShipEngine, and you never again have to worry about building or maintaining your own integrations. In addition to saving time with ShipEngine, you also save money with our pre-negotiated, discounted rates available through the USPS, UPS and others. Using our UPS rates also allows you to avoid the peak-season surcharges mentioned above.

Are you ready to solve shipping for your business? Start a free ShipEngine trial, or contact us to talk to a shipping expert about your needs.

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