The holiday season has arrived, and as you’re finishing up the mad dash of gift-buying, you’ll have one less thing to think about: For the first time since 2020, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is not charging any additional fees during the holidays. And even better, they’ve made lots of adjustments to properly staff for the busy season.
Now, price increases are coming in 2024 — but it’s nothing you’ll have to worry about during the holidays.
Here’s what you need to know about the cost of shipping during the holidays, deadlines, and what’s coming in 2024:
USPS isn’t charging extra for shipping during the busy holiday season.
For the first time since 2020, we’re not seeing an October through January peak season price hike! USPS announced the good news back in September. Last year, prices went up between $0.25 and $6.50 depending on what you were shipping and whether you were a residential or commercial customer.
Retailers, including big names like Target and Amazon, were expected to pass on these increases to customers, potentially raising shipping costs or free shipping thresholds.
The price hikes were introduced to help USPS cope with the high demand for online shopping during the holidays.
So, as it stands, here’s a good idea of what you’ll spend on shipping during the holiday season (same as the rest of the year):
- $4.75 to ship a 1-lb package First Class
- $9.35 to ship a 1-lb package via Priority Mail
- $10.20 to ship a small flat-rate box
- $5.40 to ship a 8-oz box 1-50 miles via USPS Ground
- $15.45 to ship a 10-lb box 301-600 miles via USPS Ground
- $233.75 to ship an oversized box 1,800 miles or more via USPS Ground
USPS Ground promises delivery in 2-5 business days across the U.S. and its territories.
USPS will have an extra 10,000 seasonal employees to help speed things along this holiday season.
In 2022, USPS delivered more than 11.7 billion mailpieces and packages with an average delivery time of just 2.5 days. This year, they’re planning to do even more, and have hired an additional 10,000 seasonal staff, plus they’ve introduced 348 new package sorting machines and shifted 95% of USPS’s volume to a more reliable ground transportation network.
USPS has expanded their daily package processing capacity to around 70 million, which means packages will move through the postal network more swiftly.
Look out for a USPS price increase after the holidays.
By the time you finished all your returns, look out for prices increasing across the board at USPS. Effective Jan. 21, 2024, they will implement price increases for select shipping services.
USPS Ground Advantage, a cheaper option for non-urgent shipments, will see a 5.4% increase, bringing the starting price from $4.75 to $5.01. Priority Mail, a faster delivery option, will experience a 5.7% price increase, with the starting price rising from $28.75 to $30.39. Finally, Priority Mail Express, the USPS’s fastest shipping service, will see a 5.9% increase, with the starting price changing from $9.65 to $10.22.
These price adjustments reflect the USPS’s commitment to providing quality postal services while addressing the rising costs of operations.
Meanwhile, UPS and FedEx have holiday price increases for their services.
Although USPS has taken a year off from holiday season price increases, their main competitors for shipping — FedEx and UPS — will still have more expensive shipping rates during peak season. Here are the surcharges added to the regular shipping costs at these companies:
FedEx Holiday Shipping Surcharges
Between October and January, FedEx will assess holiday peak demand surcharges. However, the average increase in shipping costs is likely to be around 7%. The amount of the surcharge will vary depending on the weight of the package. For example, the surcharge will be $6.95 for packages weighing up to 1 pound, $10.95 for packages weighing 2-3 pounds, and $14.95 for packages weighing 4-8 pounds.
UPS Holiday Shipping Surcharges
The average peak holiday surcharge is $0.37 per pound, which means that for a 10-pound package, the shipping cost will increase by $3.69. This can be a significant increase for people who are shipping multiple packages or who are sending heavy items. The surcharges last October through mid-January.
The surcharges will apply to a variety of UPS services, including UPS Worldwide Express Plus®, UPS Worldwide Express®, UPS Worldwide Saver®, UPS Worldwide Expedited®, UPS Worldwide Express Freight®, and UPS Worldwide Express Freight Midday. The surcharges will also apply to certain UPS Air Residential, UPS Ground Residential, and UPS SurePost packages.