Study: FedEx, UPS struggle with deadlines; USPS soars

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Supply chain diagram

The USPS is not letting snow, rain or gloom prevent improvement in on-time delivery of holiday packages.

Based on analysis of 2.5 billion shipping events and tens of millions of packages shipped since Thanksgiving 2019, last-mile delivery provider Convey has found that FedEx is faltering when it comes to on-time performance – decreasing nearly 12% from its holiday 2018 rates. Between Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) and Dec. 16, 2019, FedEx had an on-time delivery rate of 68.3%, compared to the 77.5% rate Convey recorded during the equivalent time period in 2018.

UPS also declined year-over-year, though not as significantly as FedEx, dropping to 80% from 86% during the first portion of the 2018 holiday season. Meanwhile, on-time performance by the USPS jumped 13% to 86% in 2019, from 76% in 2018.   

Convey also measured overall customer feedback on holiday shipping, with 53% of delivery customers reporting a negative experience compared to 57% in 2018.

Interestingly, there are fewer consumers reporting “package was delivered but missing” (11% of negative feedback this year compared to 16% in 2018). Instead, consumers are focused on delays, with 71% of negative feedback due to a delay or specific carrier complaint, compared to 64% in 2018. 

Other interesting findings include:

  • Overall shipping volume from Thanksgiving Day through Dec 15, 2019 is up 21.5% compared to the same time period in 2018. According to Convey, this growth is in line with growth in overall e-commerce spending.
  • Exceptions (defined as a temporary delay in transit) are down so far in 2019. Convey data shows 11% of all packages shipped since Thanksgiving experienced an exception, which is a decrease from 12.5% for the same period in 2018. 

Amazon has reportedly forbidden third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace to use FedEx ground delivery services during this holiday season, with performance issues as a primary stated reason.