Free Shipping Is Causing Delivery Delays This Holiday Season

A report shows that Cyber Monday orders took 20% longer to be delivered this year.
Santas in warehouse

Customers are waiting longer for their online purchases to arrive — and most of those delays aren't even weather-related.

Online shoppers are probably wondering why it's taking so long for their packages to get to them. True, there has been a fair amount of snow lately in parts of the country — UPS even offers a cautionary alert that the weather is affecting certain service areas.

Yet the biggest factor that seems to be affecting delivery speeds seems to be the fact that so many retailers are offering free shipping.

More Free Shipping Makes for a Longer Wait

Last year, 78% of retailers offered free shipping, according to data from consulting firm Kurt Salmon that was published in The Wall Street Journal. This year, that number jumped to 90%. On the surface, that seems like a good thing: It encourages more shopping online and rewards customers for doing so. The truth is that most of the time that perk comes with a slower and therefore cheaper way for retailers to ship items.

Buy ASAP to Get Packages by Christmas

Many retailers have posted their dates of when to order to receive packages by Christmas. But those estimates might not be as reliable as you think. Orders from Cyber Monday this year took almost a week to arrive on average; that's 20% longer than in 2014. Between the slower shipping times and sales exceeding retailers' expectations, it seems the gamble on gifts making it under the tree by next weekend starts now.

Readers, have you already experienced delivery delays? Share your shipping woes with us below!

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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