The USPS just announced the holiday shipping deadlines for 2021. And for small businesses that are relying more on shipping as part of their operations, these are some very important dates.
2021 USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines
With eCommerce, small business owners are now shipping products across their city, state, country, and even around the world. The 2021 holiday shipping deadlines not only provide dates for these destinations but also includes holiday shipping for military mail.
If you are shipping in the U.S., make sure to take a note of the dates for the contiguous lower 48 states and for Alaska and Hawaii as the dates differ considerably.
Here are the shipping dates for 2021:
The Contiguous U.S.
The lower 48 states or contiguous states have noticeably faster shipping dates when it comes to ground shipping. However, the shipping by air is comparable for all 50 states.
2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines for USPS
Here are the 2021 holiday shipping deadlines for mail within the contiguous 48 states. Date shown is last recommended day to send for packages to arrive by Christmas.
|Domestic Mail Class||Deadline to Send|
|USPS Retail Ground||Dec. 15|
|First-Class Mail||Dec. 17|
|Priority Mail||Dec. 18|
|Priority Mail Express||Dec. 23|
Alaska & Hawaii
Ground service for Alaska is almost two weeks in advance compared to the 48 contiguous states. And if your small business needs to deliver large items to Hawaii, you will have to consider another carrier. The USPS has a maximum weight limit of 70 pounds and if it goes beyond that you will have to use the other carriers. However, they also have weight limits, so shop around for the best alternative if you have heavy items.
2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines for USPS (Alaska and Hawai’i)
Here are the 2021 holiday shipping deadlines for mail to Alaska and Hawai’i. Date shown is last recommended day to send for packages to arrive by Christmas.
|First Class Mail||Priority Mail||Priority Mail Express||USPS Retail Ground|
|Alaska||Dec. 18||Dec. 18||Dec. 21||Dec. 2|
|Hawai’i||Dec. 17||Dec. 17||Dec. 21||N/A|
With eCommerce, a small business can have as many local deliveries as international ones. And when it comes to getting packages to customers before December 25 internationally, there are many different dates. The USPS provides the dates by regions and not specific countries, (except for Australia and New Zealand).
2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines for USPS (International Mail)
Here are the 2021 holiday shipping deadlines for mail to international destinations. Date shown is last recommended day to send for packages to arrive by Christmas.
|Destination||First Class Package International Service||Priority Mail International Service||Priority Mail Express International Service||Global Express Guaranteed Service|
|Africa||Nov. 29||Nov. 29||Dec. 6||Dec. 20|
|Asia/Pacific Rim||Dec. 6||Dec. 6||Dec. 13||Dec. 20|
|Australia and New Zealand||Dec. 6||Dec. 6||Dec. 13||Dec. 20|
|Canada||Dec. 6||Dec. 6||Dec. 13||Dec. 22|
|Caribbean||Dec. 6||Dec. 6||Dec. 13||Dec. 21|
|Central America, South America||Nov. 29||Nov. 29||Dec. 6||Dec. 20|
|Europe||Dec. 6||Dec. 6||Dec. 13||Dec. 21|
|Mexico||Dec. 6||Dec. 6||Dec. 13||Dec. 22|
|Middle East||Dec. 6||Dec. 6||Dec. 13||Dec. 20|
When it comes to military mail, there are different zips to address the global reach of the U.S. armed forces. The USPS provides a reliable service for the people serving their country. Make sure the person receiving the mail or package is still posted on the base/country before you send it.
2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines for USPS Military Mail
Here are the 2021 holiday shipping deadlines for military mail. Date shown is last recommended day to send for packages to arrive by Christmas. Space Available Mail (SAM) and Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) services are no longer offered by USPS.
|Addressed To||USPS Retail Ground||First Class Mail||Priority Mail||Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 090-092||Nov. 6||Dec. 9||Dec. 9||Dec. 16|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 093||Nov. 6||Dec. 9||Dec. 9||N/A|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-099||Nov. 6||Dec. 9||Dec. 9||Dec. 16|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 340||Nov. 6||Dec. 9||Dec. 9||Dec. 16|
|APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 962-966||Nov. 6||Dec. 9||Dec. 9||Dec. 16|
Customer Shipping Experience
Shipping has become the way customers gauge their experience with a company when they order online. And for small businesses, it is much harder to compete against large enterprises offering multiple shipping and return options, many times for free. This has dramatically increased customer shipping expectations, which makes it very challenging for many small businesses.
Considering 87% of consumers say shipping and delivery experience directly impacts their decision to shop with the merchant again, there is very little wiggle room. To make matters worse, 83% are less likely to re-purchase from a retailer after a negative delivery or shipping experience. Moreover, 54% say overall return policy is a major consideration when purchasing online.
If you can’t compete with large companies when it comes to shipping services, you must do so by providing more personalized services. And in the vast majority of cases, consumers appreciate the personal touch so much they tend to overlook faster shipping dates. This means you can save on the cost of next-day service by using 2nd day, 3-day, or even 5-day delivery options.