The last-minute Christmas shipping deadlines are here.
More people are shopping online this year than ever before – even more than last year, when the underestimated glut of last-minute purchases threw the shipping industry into the lurch and left some gift givers empty handed on the big day.
Delivery companies have already begun warning about shipping delays. UPS, which delivers packages for such giant retailers as Amazon and Walmart, prepared for the increase by adding surcharges during peak times and investing in automation. Still, online orders have exceeded UPS' projections, putting some deliveries one to two days behind. Pilots at Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and Air Transport Services Group, which serve DHL and Amazon, said staffing shortages could lead to delivery delays, according to a survey by their union. And though FedEx says it's mostly on track, some customers have seen minor delays this season.
If rush shipping becomes your only option, just remember that shipping will get pricier every day that passes. Here are the shipping deadlines recommended by each company for delivery by Christmas Day:
- U.S. Postal Service. For shipping in the contiguous United States, mail packages by Tuesday for first-class mail, by Wednesday for Priority Mail and by Friday for Priority Mail Express. Ship by Wednesday for Priority Mail Express to Hawaii, and First Class or Priority in Alaska. Ship by Thursday for Priority Mail Express to Alaska.
- FedEx. The ground shipping deadline has come and gone, the deadline for FedEx Home Delivery is Monday, Express Saver is Tuesday, FedEx 2-Day and 2-Day AM is Wednesday, and Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight and First Overnight is Thursday.
- UPS. Monday is the last day for UPS 3 Day Select, Wednesday is the last day for UPS 2nd Day Air, Thursday is the last day for UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air Saturday, and Friday is the last day for UPS Next Day Air Saturday.
- Amazon. For the contiguous United States, Monday is the last day for Standard Shipping, Friday is the last day for Two-Day Shipping. Deadlines for Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico have already passed.
- Walmart. The deadline for standard shipping is Tuesday, rush shipping is Thursday, and free in-store pickup is 8 p.m. on Sunday.
- Target. The standard shipping deadline is Monday. Premium two-day shipping ends at noon on Tuesday. Express shipping, which takes one business day, ends at noon Dec. 22.
Story topics: Samantha Christmann