This holiday season, e-commerce sales are expected to skyrocket, thanks in part to the coronavirus forcing most U.S. consumers to shop online. As such, some reports estimate that around three billion packages will be shipped during this historic holiday season, which would be a huge lift even without a global pandemic.
With billions of Christmas presents in the mail, there are a lot of people wondering if they still have time to ship their items so that they arrive before Christmas Day. For holiday procrastinators everywhere, time is short. In fact, due to overwhelming demand, the U.S. Postal Service is already suspending priority shipping at some online retailers.
If you haven’t already ordered and/or shipped your presents, you’re running out of time to ensure they arrive before Christmas Day 2020. As you read this, countless last-minute shoppers like you are placing orders on Amazon and other online retailers. The longer you delay, the more likely your packages are to arrive late. To make sure that your packages arrive before Christmas Day, you need to act fast.
When Are Amazon Holiday Delivery Deadlines for 2020?
Amazon has a handy blog post for those who still need to place some orders. We’ve got tons of last-minute Christmas gift ideas for you, and there is still time to pick out the perfect gift. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you have a few extra days (and you can still sign up for Amazon Prime). If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, it depends upon the specific item and your location. However, if that’s the case, time is most definitely of the essence, and we encourage you to place orders as soon as possible to avoid potential delays.
To make sure your Amazon shipments arrive before Christmas Day 2020, here’s what you need to know:
- Last day to order more than 10 million items eligible for One-Day Delivery — Wednesday, December 23
- Last day to order millions of items eligible for Same-Day Delivery — Thursday, December 24*
*Same-day delivery is not available in all areas
USPS Holiday Delivery Deadlines 2020
The Postal Service’s recommended shipping deadline has already passed. For retail and ground shipping with USPS, the Postal Service advised customers to get their packages in the mail by December 15. Yes, there are still options for priority shipping with USPS for Christmas 2020, but that window is closing fast.
Be advised that a “historic crush of e-commerce shipments” has led to widespread gridlock in the U.S. Postal Service, which is scrambling to deliver as many packages as possible, according to The Washington Post. During the week following Black Friday 2020, USPS reported to Congress that only 78.9% of first-class mail was delivered on time, and we expect similar delays ahead of Christmas.
USPS Retail Ground Service — Tuesday, December 15
- First-Class Mail Service — Friday, December 18
- Priority Mail Service — Saturday, December 19
- Priority Mail Express Service2 — Wednesday, Dec. 23
UPS Holiday Delivery Deadlines
Procrastinators, rejoice! UPS says that you can send presents as late as Wednesday, December 23 (that’s Christmas Eve’s Eve). Of course, you’ll have to pay a lot more for next-day shipping, and unless you’re shipping via Santa Claus himself, there are no guarantees with deliveries set to arrive the day before Christmas.
What are the chances your package will arrive on time with UPS? According to Commercial Appeal and ShipMatrix, UPS had a 96.6% on-time delivery rate for the Christmas 2019 holidays, slightly higher than FedEx.
The 2020 UPS holiday shipping deadlines for Christmas are:
- UPS 3 Day Select — Monday, December 21
- UPS 2nd Day Air — Tuesday, December 22
- UPS Next Day Air — Wednesday, December 23
FedEx Holiday Delivery Deadlines
FedEx has the most options when it comes to last-minute delivery, which is why the logistics giant ships tens of millions of packages in the days leading up to Christmas. According to data from ShipMatrix, FedEx had a 94.6% on-time delivery rate for the 2019 holiday season.
Here are the FedEx holiday delivery deadlines for 2020:
- FedEx Standard Home Delivery 3 — Tuesday, December 15
- FedEx Ground 1-3 — Tuesday, December 15
- FedEx Express Saver — Monday, December 21
- FedEx 3Day Freight — Monday, December 21
- FedEx 2Day — Tuesday, December 22
- FedEx 2Day A.M. — Tuesday, December 22
- FedEx 2Day Freight — Tuesday, December 22
- FedEx 1Day Freight — Wednesday, December 23
- FedEx Extra Hours — Wednesday, December 23
- FedEx Standard Overnight — Wednesday, December 23
- FedEx Priority Overnight — Wednesday, December 23
- FedEx First Overnight — Wednesday, December 23
- FedEx SameDay 2 — Friday, December 25
- FedEx SameDay City Priority2 — Friday, December 25
- FedEx SameDay City Direct2 — Friday, December 25
Walmart Delivery Deadlines
Walmart is aggressively trying to compete with Amazon, and the company now offers free two-day shipping on a ton of items. That means Walmart is a great online shopping destination for last-minute Christmas gifts. Of course, not all products are eligible for Walmart’s two-day delivery, so check carefully to make sure your item is expected to arrive by Christmas Eve.
Larger items, such as flat-screen TVs, likely won’t arrive in time for Christmas 2020. However, there are plenty of popular products that are still eligible for fast and free delivery before Christmas.
- Free Two-Day Delivery on eligible items — Saturday, December 19 at 2 p.m. local time.
- Free NextDay Delivery on eligible items — Monday, December 21 at 2 p.m. local time.
- In-store Pickup — Order by Wednesday, December 23 at 4 p.m. local time for in-store pickup on Thursday, December 24.
Best Buy Christmas Delivery Deadlines
Amazon Prime members can still find some products with one- and two-day delivery options, but Amazon isn’t the only option for last-minute shoppers. If you’ve saved your holiday shopping for Christmas Eve-Eve, then Best Buy may be your last best hope. Best Buy offers overnight shipping on a ton of big-ticket items, which means you still have a few hours to place orders that will arrive before Christmas Day. That being said, holiday storms and normal delays may still leave you empty-handed, but that’s always a possibility during the peak of the holiday delivery season.
On Wednesday, December 23, you can still buy speakers and headphones, iPads, Chromebooks, and other in-demand gadgets and stocking stuffers from Best Buy, so long as they’re not considered large home delivery items. Be sure to select one-day shipping at checkout to ensure overnight delivery. If all goes well, your last-minute gift should arrive on Thursday, December 24, leaving you with just enough time to wrap your presents before Christmas Day.
And for those who really like living on the edge, Best Buy even offers same-day deliveries as late as Thursday, December 24. (Target offers a similar service if you’re looking for more last-minute gifts with 1-day shipping.) However, a lot of that is dependent on where you live and what you’re buying. So please, please, please do your homework before waiting until the very last minute.
Are My Gifts Going To Arrive in Time?
Remember, these are the final holiday shipping deadlines, but the recommended deadlines have already passed you by. The closer we get to the holidays, the more expensive it will become to ship your packages and order gifts online. On top of that, major retailers like Amazon and Walmart have been warning shoppers for months to expect COVID-related shipping delays this year. And, unlike Santa Claus, the Postal Service and FedEx don’t have a trusty team of reindeer to fight their way through winter storms. Even if you meet the deadlines for shipping your Christmas packages, winter storms, human error and record parcel volume could still disrupt your delivery.
So if your packages aren’t going to arrive in time, don’t panic! It’s not ideal, but you can always print out a picture of your gift and present it to your loved one with a thoughtful handwritten card. To avoid that scenario, stop procrastinating on buying your Christmas gifts and start shopping before it’s too late. You can also opt for digital gifts and subscription boxes, which are some of our favorite last-minute gifts.