More Than 6% of FedEx, UPS Parcel Shipments Studied in Q1 Were Late

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More than 6% of 508,000 FedEx and UPS parcels shipped by 100 small-to-medium-sized retailers between January and March 2019 were delayed, nearly 72% of them by a full day, according to a report from, which tracks parcels in transit for retailers.

The numbers were worse for third-party logistics (3PL) providers, with 7.6% of their UPS and FedEx parcel shipments arriving later than expected during that period. Also, more expensive next-day air services for both carriers had more late deliveries than ground.

The report period did include a period of extremely harsh winter conditions in January and February, which even prompted UPS executives to cite the weather as a headwind factor impacting financial results during an earnings call. LateShipment did acknowledge a number of factors contribute to delays, including “delivery times, pickup options, drop options, warehouse locations and weather conditions.”

A UPS spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on third-party research.

Data for the report came from SMB merchants with monthly shipping volumes ranging from 500 to 50,000 parcels, according to LateShipment.

In terms of product categories, retailers selling food, chocolates, coffee and wine had the largest percentage of late shipments, at 6.99%. This was followed by apparel and accessories (6.73%), sporting goods, health and fitness and marine supplies (6.25%), consumer electronics, computers and software (5.58%), home, kitchen, gift and toys (4.9%) and auto parts and home improvement (4.81%).

Expedited services by air freight saw the most challenged on-time performance across all categories in the report, over 10% for all of them. LateShipment reported that 22.7% of apparel and accessories parcel shipments using FedEx Priority Overnight were late in Q1, compared to 16.2% for UPS Next-Day Air.

Overall, the two expedited services – FedEx Priority Overnight and UPS Next-Day Air – had an average delay percentage of 7%, according to LateShipment. The average for FedEx was 17.8%, and 11.1% for UPS.

Across all Q1 late deliveries using time-definite service types, 45.8% of them handled by FedEx were a few hours in duration, while 39% were a full day late and 9.7% were two days late. The corresponding percentages for UPS were 59.4%, 30.6% and 8.8%, respectively.

One response to “More Than 6% of FedEx, UPS Parcel Shipments Studied in Q1 Were Late

  1. Hi Mike. Thanks for sharing this interesting data. It surprised me that 6 percent of parcels shipped by small-to-medium-sized retailers are delayed. Even large retailers like Amazon might struggle to deliver parcels on time this peak season. FedEx ended its shipping contract with Amazon earlier this year.

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