E-commerce News and Insights | Sep 29, 2022

Holiday Shipping Deadlines 2022: USPS, FedEx, UPS

Hasan Nabulsi

It’s that time of the year again when shoppers are deciding what gifts to buy and merchants are preparing for the busiest time of the year. However, to have a successful holiday season, both consumers and e-commerce businesses must be aware of the 2022 holiday shipping deadlines.

For merchants specifically, communicating these cutoff times sooner rather than later allows you to ensure your customers get their orders in time and at an affordable price.

To help, we’ll cover the cutoff times for each major national carrier when it comes to shipping in time for Christmas in the U.S.

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Before we dive into the 2022 USPS holiday shipping deadlines, you’ll want to keep in mind that these are not guarantees from the carrier but estimated dates. The actual deadline for these services could change based on where you’re shipping from, where you’re shipping to, unforeseen weather blockages, and other conditions set by your local Post Office.

However, for the most part, you can expect to see the following deadlines for U.S. shipments within the contiguous 48 states:

Domestic Service Level 2022 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
USPS Retail Ground® Service Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022
USPS First Class Mail® and First-Class Package Service® Friday, Dec. 17, 2022
USPS Priority Mail® Monday, Dec. 19, 2022
USPS Priority Mail Express® Thursday, Dec. 23, 2022

One important note here is that these projected cutoff times do not include states such as Alaska or Hawaii, or other U.S. territories. For parcels traveling to those locations, you can expect the following deadlines:

Destination First-Class Mail® and First-Class Package Service Priority Mail® Service Priority Mail Express® Service USPS Retail Ground® Service
Alaska December 18 December 18 December 21 December 2
Hawaii December 17 December 17 December 21 N/A

Similarly, if you plan on shipping internationally during the holidays, you will also see different holiday shipping deadlines. It will be dependent upon the country you’re shipping to and the service level being used. For holiday deadlines for international USPS shipments, you’ll want to adhere to the following dates:

Destination First-Class Package International Service® Priority Mail International® Service Priority Mail Express International® Service Global Express Guarenteed® Service
Africa November 29 November 29 December 6 December 20
Asia / Pacific Rim December 6 December 6 December 13 December 20
Australia / New Zealand December 6 December 6 December 13 December 20
Canada December 6 December 6 December 13 December 22
Caribbean December 6 December 6 December 13 December 21
Central & South America November 29 November 29 December 6 December 20
Europe December 6 December 6 December 13 December 21
Mexico December 6 December 6 December 13 December 22
Middle East December 6 December 6 December 13 December 20

The deadlines for sending mail to military bases through USPS also have their own Christmas shipping deadlines. Visit the USPS to learn more about these military shipping deadlines and all other 2022 USPS holiday shipping deadlines.

FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines

FedEx holiday shipping deadlines have been announced by the carrier for 2022. However, keep in mind these deadlines are subject to change. The Christmas shipping deadlines you can expect from FedEx for commonly used services in the U.S. are as follows:

FedEx Express® Service Levels Christmas Shipping Deadline
FedEx Same Day Friday, Dec. 23, 2022
FO, PO, SO, Extra Hours Thursday, Dec 22, 2022
FedEx 2Day® and 2Day AM® Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022
FedEx Express Saver® Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022

 

FedEx Ground® Services Christmas Shipping Deadline
FedEx Ground® Contiguous U.S. Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022
FedEx Ground® Hawaii & Alaska Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022
FedEx Home Delivery® Continuous U.S. Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022
FedEx Home Delivery® Hawaii & Alaska Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022
FedEx Ground Economy® Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022

International shipping deadlines have been announced for shipments traveling from the U.S. to Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Those shipping deadlines are as follows:

FedEx Services – U.S. to Canada Christmas Shipping Deadline
FedEx® International Next Flight Friday, Dec. 23, 2022
FedEx International First® Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022
FedEx International Priority® Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022
FedEx International Priority Distribution® Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022
FedEx International Economy® Friday, Dec. 16, 2022
FedEx International Connect Plus Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022

 

FedEx Services – U.S. to Mexico Christmas Shipping Deadline
FedEx® International Next Flight Friday, Dec. 23, 2022
FedEx International First® Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022
FedEx International Priority® Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022
FedEx International Economy® Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022
FedEx International Connect Plus Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022

 

FedEx Services – U.S. to Puerto Rico Christmas Shipping Deadline
FedEx® International Next Flight Friday, Dec. 23, 2022
FedEx International First® Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022
FedEx International Priority Distribution® Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022
FedEx International Economy® Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022

Remember that the holiday shipping deadlines for other non-U.S. countries may differ. If and when those are announced, we’ll update that information here. If not, speak to your FedEx account manager for an accurate deadline.

Regarding shipping deadlines for FedEx Freight Services, click here for more information.

UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

When it comes to UPS holiday shipping deadlines, you’ll want to check online using their cost and time calculator to determine the last days to ship using their UPS® Ground services. However, their expedited services are a bit easier to mark on your calendar and include in your holiday shipping policy.

U.S. Domestic Holiday Shipping Deadlines

UPS Shipping Service Last Day to Ship
UPS® Ground Shipping Check online with UPS for details
UPS 3 Day Select® December 19, 2022
UPS 2nd Day Air® Services December 21, 2022
UPS Next Day Air® Services December 22, 2022

The Christmas shipping deadlines for UPS differ slightly when it comes to shipping across borders to Canada and Mexico. You’ll want to keep in mind that shipping using UPS Standard® services may differ if you plan on shipping out of Alaska or Hawaii as opposed to all the other mainland states.

Shipping from The U.S. To Canada

UPS Shipping Service Last Day to Ship
UPS Standard Services (Only to 48 contiguous states) Check online with UPS for Details
UPS Worldwide Expedited® December 19, 2022
UPS Worldwide Express® Services December 22, 2022

Shipping from the U.S. to Mexico

UPS Shipping Service Last Day to Ship
UPS® Standard Services Services (Only to 48 contiguous states) Check online with UPS for details
UPS Worldwide Expedited® December 19, 2022
UPS Worldwide Express® services December 21, 2022

If your business sells to other countries outside of North America and you want to see when the deadline to ship before Christmas is, you’ll need to use UPS’s calculator or speak to your account manager.

Best Ways to Prepare for Shipping Cutoff Times

When it comes to preparing for peak season, one of the biggest areas to prepare for is holiday shipping deadlines. While you can’t control the dates carriers set and you can’t control if they will meet those deadlines they set, you can prepare your business accordingly by doing the following.

Inform Your Customer Early and Often Of Your Holiday Shipping Policy

Once you have the holiday shipping deadlines marked, the next step is to create a holiday shipping policy and a holiday return policy. This is so that you can eliminate any possible confusion before your customers purchase during November and December. You can be sure that your customers are making informed decisions by providing a link to your holiday shipping policy on your product description pages, on your home page, and even in your FAQ section.

Prepare Your Fulfillment Operations

Customers will often wait until the last minute to make a purchase, even if they do know the deadlines in advance. However, shipping deadlines can be different than fulfillment deadlines since you’ll have to consider the time it takes to package your product and get it in the hands of a carrier. You’ll want to make sure you have labor, packaging supplies, and processes in place to ensure that you can get your package in the carrier’s hand has soon as possible. Shippo can help with this by automating the shipping label creation process and allowing you to generate batch labels.

Use Multiple Carriers When Shipping During Peak

Different carriers will have different holiday shipping deadlines depending on the service level. Even if two carriers have the same deadline, the price to ship a product to your customer may be different. To give your customer the best shipping experience during the holiday, you’ll want to make sure your site is integrated with a multi-carrier shipping software so they can choose a service level that will deliver their orders before Christmas. Some customers will be willing to pay a premium to have something shipped a few days before the holiday, but it’s up to you to ensure they have that option and it won’t break the bank to select it.

Prepare Your Customer Service Teams

Commonly asked questions for CS teams working in e-commerce are around shipping times. If customers aren’t asking where their shipment is, they’ll want to know if they can get it in time before they buy. Making sure your team has the right information in regards to shipping deadlines and overall fulfillment time frames will ensure that prospective customers have a full idea of what to expect before they buy.

Check out our e-book on How to Prepare for Peak Season for more information on how your e-commerce business can conquer the holidays.

Hasan Nabulsi is the Content Marketing Manager at Shippo.

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