UPS Delivery Truck During Holiday Peak Season
Source: UPS

Holiday Peak Season: UPS Beats FedEx and USPS in On-Time Delivery


With the 2022 holiday peak season reaching a new record in online sales, how did the three primary carriers do delivering those orders?

Shipmatrix, a leading shipping and logistics consultancy, found that between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, the on-time performance winner was UPS at 97.5%, followed by FedEx at 95.2, and USPS coming in a close third at 94.3%.

By comparison to 2021, UPS stayed the same (97.5%), FedEx improved 0.6 percentage points from 94.6%, and USPS declined 1.3 percentage points from 95.6%.

The major winter storm leading up to the final days before Christmas affecting significant portions of the U.S. resulted in more than 10 million delayed deliveries, about 15% of deliveries scheduled for Friday (12/23) and Saturday (12/24).

This was not included in the on-time calculation as it was a situation outside the control of carriers.

Overall, ShipMatrix said that during the peak period, the parcel industry delivered more than 3 billion parcels, or about 20 parcels per household, about the same as the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021.

In the run-up to the 2022 holiday season, there were a lot of questions about how the peak shopping season would unfold as consumers battled with inflation and many larger retailers sat on high inventory.

There was little doubt that the shipping and logistics industry should be ready as investments in infrastructure, especially after the disastrous 2020 peak season, should be sufficient with an expected softer peak season demand.

USPS Peak Season Struggles

While UPS didn’t improve on its on-time metrics during this peak season — which continually leads the other two main carriers with a high on-time delivery percentage — FedEx gained slightly on UPS, and the US Postal Service continues to struggle.

Before the peak season, USPS said it was ready after making many changes since the 2020 season to handle a larger volume of packages. But it appears its parcel delivery on-time percentage went down.

USPS’s parcel services will undergo more changes in 2023 as its Priority Mail Regional program is being discontinued this month, and the organization expects to simplify its three ground parcel services to one later in the year.

All of this should help further streamline its entire parcel delivery business, but it will take the 2023 peak season before we know if it’s working as expected.

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