Amazon sellers, are you ready? Because the 2020 holiday shopping season is here. And in case you weren’t, we’ve got all the key dates you need to know for Amazon’s holiday delivery schedule.
Shipping networks are overloaded this year, with shipping volumes expected to exceed capacity by 5% worldwide. That means a lot of packages could get delayed, and a lot of your customers could be pretty unhappy with you.
You’ve got to do what you can on your end to get your packages there on time — and that starts with knowing all the 2020 holiday shipping deadlines.
2020 Amazon Holiday Delivery Schedule & Shipping Deadlines
First, if you’re an FBA seller, let’s make sure you get everything to Amazon fulfillment centers at the right time — and that depends on what you’re selling. According to Amazon:
- Inventory for Christmas shopping should arrive at Amazon fulfillment centers by December 1, 2020.
- Inventory for 2021 should be sent to Amazon fulfillment centers no earlier than December 17, 2020.
Now, let’s talk delivery dates. Although Amazon has not released its annual Holiday Delivery Calendar for 2020 yet, last year’s were:
- Dec. 14: Last day to order and get free delivery on orders over $25; free for all customers
- Dec. 18: Last day to order items eligible for standard shipping; free for Prime members
- Dec. 22: Last day to order tens of millions of items; free for Prime members
- Dec. 23: Last day to order more than 10 million items eligible for one-day delivery (coast to coast, free for Prime members with no minimum purchase)
- Dec. 24: Last day to order millions of items eligible for same-day delivery (free for Prime members in eligible areas on orders over $35, order by 9:30 a.m. local time)
Given that shipping networks are predicted to overflow this year, it’s likely that Amazon will move these key order dates at least a few days earlier for 2020. Plan accordingly!
FedEx and UPS Shipping Deadlines
UPS will be closed on Dec. 25, so their recommended shipping dates for arrival by Dec. 24 are:
- UPS Ground — Dec. 15
- UPS 3 Day Select — Dec. 21
- UPS 2nd Day Air — Dec. 22
- UPS Next Day Air — Dec. 23
Selling through other marketplaces that use FedEx? Take note of their holiday deadlines to get a package to its recipient by Dec. 25.
- FedEx SmartPost — Dec. 9
- FedEx Home Delivery — Dec. 15
- FedEx Ground — Dec. 15
- FedEx Express Saver — Dec. 21
- FedEx 3Day Freight — Dec. 21
- FedEx 2Day — Dec.22
- FedEx 2Day A.M. — Dec. 22
- FedEx 2Day Freight — Dec. 22
- FedEx 1Day Freight — Dec. 23
- FedEx Extra Hours — Dec. 23
- FedEx Standard Overnight — Dec. 23
- FedEx Priority Overnight — Dec. 23
- FedEx First Overnight — Dec. 23
- FedEx SameDay — Dec. 25
- FedEx SameDay City Priority — Dec. 25
- FedEx SameDay City Direct — Dec. 25
Other Last-Minute Options for Shoppers and Sellers
Shoppers unwilling to brave a physical retail store in the last days before a holiday can turn to electronically delivered items like gift cards, subscriptions to publications, or subscription boxes that will all arrive after the holidays anyway. Print off a photo of the item to share with the recipient and you’re good to go!
For sellers, if you want to stay out of the Amazon chaos or diversify your selling options, there are several other options for getting your products in front of customers, including:
- Walmart Marketplace — Selling on the Walmart Marketplace is similar to selling on Amazon, so it won’t feel too unfamiliar. If you’re a Shopify seller as well, Walmart offers special benefits. But if you’re thinking of adding your inventory to Walmart’s offerings, you’d better hustle: It can take up to four weeks to get up and running on the Walmart Marketplace.
- eBay — Setting up an eBay store is a fairly quick process, but if you’ve never sold on the platform before, you’ll have a tough time ramping up for the 2020 holiday season. eBay requires that sellers who want to open a store have a few sales under their belts first.
- Google Shopping — The approach here is a bit different. Unlike Amazon, Walmart or eBay, you won’t be adding your products to someone else’s platform. For Google Shopping, you submit a feed from your online store to Google and they include your products in their listings in shoppers’ search results. Then shoppers are directed to your ecommerce website to purchase the item. For new sellers, the feed submission process can take three to five business days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s tackle some of the questions we hear a lot of this time of year.
- Does Amazon deliver packages on holidays?
Amazon does not deliver on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.
- Is Amazon Prime open on Christmas?
Both Amazon Logistics and UPS, the two primary delivery sources for Amazon, are closed on Christmas Day.
- Is Amazon offering free shipping for Christmas?
Amazon offers free shipping on orders over $25 for eligible items. Prime members can get unlimited two-day free shipping.
- What time do Amazon packages go out for delivery?
Amazon packages can arrive between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time.
- Does Amazon deliver by 9 p.m.?
Depending on the item availability, shipping speed and your Prime membership status, many items can be delivered by 9 p.m. Amazon packages can arrive from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Get ready for holiday shipping deadlines today
It’s not too late to prepare for these deadlines, but you’d better hurry. Be sure to not only steel yourself and your team for the shipping crunch ahead, but prepare your customers as well when they make their purchases.
Even though Amazon commands much of the communication in a customer relationship, there are still tools for you to use as a seller, including Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging Service and your social media ads. Let shoppers know they need to order earlier this year to ensure they get their gifts on time. With proper communication, you can make the holiday shipping and shopping season less frustrating for you both.
Need more advice and tips for selling on Amazon this holiday season? Get our white paper, How Amazon Sellers Can Prepare for the Peak Sales Season, and learn everything you need to know to keep your costs down.