The delivery service with the best on-time holiday performance is…

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture
Holiday shipping has slowed from 2020.

In the face of generally slowing holiday shipments, one major delivery provider is showing significant improvement from 2020.

Delivery experience management platform provider Convey by Project 44 has been tracking delivery times and delays based on tens of millions of packages shipped from more than 500,000 locations across the U.S. Examining performance of three major parcel delivery services – FedEx, UPS, and USPS, Convey by Project 44 found that FedEx delivered 64% of packages on time for the week starting Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 (“Cyber Week”), down from 75% during the same time period the prior year.

Meanwhile, on-time performance for UPS was 83% for the week starting Nov 26, 2021, compared to 81% for the same week in 2020. USPS had the highest on-time delivery rate for Cyber Week 2021 at 89%, compared to 79% in 2020.  

Other findings include that “fulfillment time,” defined as the period between when an online order is placed and when the package is picked up by the carrier, has more than doubled year-over-year. For the week starting Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, the average fulfillment time was 3.01 days, compared to 1.31 days for the same period in 2020.

According to Convey by Project 44, this finding indicates that labor shortages and inventory issues are having a real impact on both retailers and holiday shoppers, and indicates that shoppers should expect holiday packages to take even longer than anticipated to arrive. 

The company also released new survey data on holiday shipping expectations and challenges for retailers and shoppers. Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, 33% of surveyed consumers had completed all or nearly all of their shopping (75%-100%), which Convey by Project 44 said confirms that the holiday period started before the traditional Black Friday day after Thanksgiving.

[Read more: Three ways early Black Friday is shaking up retail]

Convey by Project44’s shopper survey also found that more than six in 10 consumers have noticed higher shipping fees (64%) and free-shipping thresholds (62%) this holiday compared to the 2020 season.

Surveyed retailers said that they are well aware of these issues. Retailers cited higher shipping costs (49%), longer shipping delays (42%) and out-of-stock items / low inventory (40%) as their top three concerns for the holiday season. In addition, nearly 40% of surveyed retailers said they wish they had added or changed inventory strategies to prepare for the holiday season, and 30% said they wish they had started holiday sales and promotions earlier.

According to a survey conducted by Oracle Retail shortly before Cyber Week, despite some consumers expressing concern over supply chain issues, many have not made any special effort to begin holiday shopping.When asked how much of their holiday shopping is complete, 30% of respondents said none to very little.

Another 35% have completed one-quarter or less of their holiday shopping. Thirteen percent are half done, 9% are three-quarters done, and 5% have finished their holiday shopping. Seven percent of respondents don't plan to shop for the holidays this year.