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Holiday Selling Guide

Holiday Shipping

Key information for your holiday shipping

- Shipping best practices
- Carrier discounts
- Shipping deadlines

Shipping Best Practices

One of the easiest ways to grow your eBay business is to follow these best practices for shipping. As a seller, you should offer:

  • Free Shipping + Expedited Shipping
  • 1-Day Handling
  • Crystal-Clear Communication

To attract new buyers and gain their confidence—and keep existing customers coming back—ship your items as quickly as possible, ideally on the same day your buyer pays.

Free Shipping
Converting to Fast 'N Free can increase your sales by up to 11%*

Offer free expedited shipping. As the holiday season progresses buyers will increasingly be in a hurry to wrap up their holiday purchases. Capture those last minute shoppers with a free expedited shipping option.

When eBay can confidently predict your item will arrive at the buyer's location within 4 business days and you offer free shipping, your listing is highlighted as eBay Fast 'N Free. Converting to Fast 'N Free can increase your sales by up to 11%.*

Listings with the Fast 'N Free logo are delivering a solid boost in sales over listings without it. Starting in September, you'll be able to see in your seller dashboard:

  • How many of your transactions qualified
  • What your sales might have been if all of your listings qualified for Fast 'N Free
  • What you can do to get the powerful eBay Fast 'N Free logo on more of your listings

Plus, when you offer free shipping you get an automatic 5-star rating for shipping cost when your buyer chooses this shipping method.

1-Day Handling
The best way to turn your transactions around in one day is to be prepared.

Have inventory, staff, and supplies on hand to meet your holiday needs. Save big on holiday shipping:

  • Check the Holiday Hotlist to find this year's most in-demand products and stock up.
  • Get free boxes and envelopes from the USPS® Shipping zone.
  • UPS shippers can get free packaging for air shipments, self-adhesive labels and more.
  • Go to eBay.com to find everything you need for your holiday fulfillment center.

Arrange for carrier pick-up. Use USPS® Carrier Pickup for your Express Mail®, Priority Mail® and International packages at no charge. Check on the package pickup options from UPS. Visit the Shipping Center for more details.

You'll automatically receive a 5-star shipping time detailed seller rating (DSR) as long as:

  • You specified 1-day handling.
  • You upload U.S. Postal Service®, FedEx, or UPS supported tracking information by the end of the next business day, Pacific Time, after the buyer's payment clears.
  • Delivery Confirmation™ or tracking shows confirmed delivery 4 business days from when the payment clears—or within your estimated delivery time if it's less than 4 days (for example, overnight shipping).

Crystal-Clear Communication
The more you tell, the more you'll sell.

Always set buyer expectations by clearly specifying shipping and returns policies in your listings.

Provide shipment tracking and delivery information. eBay label printing automatically uploads tracking and delivery confirmation numbers to your My eBay page, and you can set it up to have delivery emails sent to buyers automatically. Log in to My eBay, click the "Accounts" tab and choose "marketing tools."

*Percentage calculated is based on sales of listings that converted to Fast 'N Free. Individual seller results may vary. Percentage increase in sales depend on, among other things, item price, inventory, shipping cost, shipping speed offered and historical performance of seller.

Carrier Discounts

  • Take advantage of USPS® Savings for the holidays!
    Save big on holiday shipping! Now through December 26, all sellers who had 100+ transactions in the preceding calendar month pay Commercial PlusTM pricing—with savings of up to 32%—when purchasing postage and printing labels from eBay Labels. Check your Seller Dashboard to see if you qualify.

    eBay Top-rated sellers and sellers with an average of 2,500 transactions per month enjoy this discount year-round!

  • FedEx Advantage® for all sellers
    Save 8% to 20% on eligible FedEx Ground® and FedEx Home Delivery® shipments, and 25% to 37% on eligible FedEx Express® shipments when you join the FedEx Advantage® program. No minimum shipping requirements. Plus, the more you ship, the larger your discount!
  • UPS Savings
    Save up to 32% off air shipments, up to 25% off international shipments and up to 23% off Ground Shipments through the UPS® Savings Program for eBay PowerSellers. All sellers may enroll in the UPS® Special Savings Program for eBay Sellers to secure similar savings.

Shipping deadlines

Ensure gifts will make it to your loved ones in time. Here are the USPS®, FedEx and UPS cutoffs for a December 24th delivery.

Holiday Dates for Domestic Shipments
Domestic Mail Class/ProductDates
First-Class Mail® ServiceDec. 20
Priority Mail® ServiceDec. 21
Express Mail® Service*Dec. 22
Parcel Post® ServiceDec. 14
Destination Network Distribution Center (DNDC) Drop ShipDec. 19
Destination Delivery Unit (DDU) Drop ShipDec. 21

* Express Mail postage refund eligibility is adjusted for shipments mailed Dec 22-25.

U.S.-to-U.S. Shipments Wed 12/12 Thu 12/13 Fri 12/14 Sat 12/15 Sun 12/16 Mon 12/17 Wed 12/19 Thu 12/20 Fri 12/21 Sat 12/22 Sun 12/23 Mon 12/24 Tue 12/25
FedEx SameDay®
FedEx First Overnight® 2
FedEx Priority Overnight® 2
FedEx Standard Overnight®
FedEx 2Day® A.M.
FedEx 2Day® 2
FedEx Express Saver®
FedEx Ground®
FedEx Home Delivery®
FedEx SmartPost® (not a guaranteed service)
U.S. Domestic Service Cut-off for Delivery by December 24*
UPS Ground Dec. 14-20 (varies by origin and destination)
UPS 3 Day Select® Dec. 19
UPS 2nd Day Air® Dec. 20
UPS Next Day Air®/UPS Next Day Air Saver® Dec. 21

Please review the UPS Year-End Holiday Schedule.

*Some shipments to and from certain locations may require additional time in transit. For guarantee details, service availability, and delivery time commitments visit Calculate Time and Cost.

UPS peak-season service guarantees: Commitment times for air shipments delivered within the United States will be extended by 90 minutes on the following days: Nov. 23, Dec. 18-24 and Dec. 31. UPS air shipments picked up or delivered in the United States are guaranteed throughout the holiday season. The guarantee is suspended for UPS Ground packages picked up or scheduled for delivery between Dec. 11 and Dec. 24. For further details, visit ups.com for UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service.


Holiday Dates for International Shipments

The US Postal Service is once again allowing specific quantities of lithium batteries—when installed in the equipment they are intended to operate—to be sent to many international destinations, including APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office), and DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) locations. Learn more.

Destination Global Exchange Guaranteed® (GXG)* Express Mail International® (EMS) Priority Mail International® (PMI) First-Class Mail®
Africa Dec. 19Dec. 11Dec. 3Dec. 3
Asia / Pacific Rim Dec. 18Dec. 15Dec. 10Dec. 10
Australia / New Zealand Dec. 18Dec. 15Dec. 10Dec. 10
Canada Dec. 20Dec. 17Dec. 13Dec. 10
Caribbean Dec. 19Dec. 15Dec. 13Dec. 10
Central & South America Dec. 19Dec. 11Dec. 3Dec. 3
Mexico Dec. 20Dec. 15Dec. 10Dec. 10
Europe Dec. 19Dec. 15Dec. 13Dec. 10
Middle East Dec. 19Dec. 15Dec. 13Dec. 10

*GXG Notes:

  1. Cutoff date does not take into account time needed for customs clearance.
  2. Should allocate extra transit day(s) for delivery outside major cities.
  3. Last day to ship to Afghanistan is Dec 18 and Iraq is Dec 17.
U.S.-to-Puerto Rico Shipments Thu 12/13 Fri 12/14 Sat 12/15 Sun 12/16 Mon 12/17 Tue 12/18 Wed 12/19 Thu 12/20 Fri 12/21 Sat 12/22 Sun 12/23 Mon 12/24 Tue 12/25
FedEx® International Next Flight
FedEx International Priority®
FedEx International Economy®
U.S.-to-Canada Shipments Thu 12/13 Fri 12/14 Sat 12/15 Sun 12/16 Mon 12/17 Tue 12/18 Wed 12/19 Thu 12/20 Fri 12/21 Sat 12/22 Sun 12/23 Mon 12/24 Tue 12/25
FedEx® International Next Flight
FedEx International First® 1
FedEx International Priority®
FedEx International Economy®
FedEx International Ground® (certain exclusions may apply)
U.S.-to-Mexico Shipments Thu 12/13 Fri 12/14 Sat 12/15 Sun 12/16 Mon 12/17 Tue 12/18 Wed 12/19 Thu 12/20 Fri 12/21 Sat 12/22 Sun 12/23 Mon 12/24 Tue 12/25
FedEx® International Next Flight
FedEx International First® 1
FedEx International Priority®
FedEx International Economy®

1 FedEx First Overnight and FedEx Priority Overnight shipments tendered on Friday, Dec. 23, will be assessed a Saturday Delivery surcharge. FedEx 2Day shipments tendered on Thursday, Dec. 22, will be assessed a Saturday Delivery surcharge. Last day to ship via FedEx First Overnight and FedEx Priority Overnight without Saturday Delivery surcharge is Thursday, Dec. 22. Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day without Saturday Delivery surcharge is Wednesday, Dec.21.

Go to Get Rates and Transit Times to view transit times for specific services. For other country-specific shipping information, or for shipments to military destinations, please go to Get Rates and Transit Times or call FedEx Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339.

International Service Cut-off for Delivery by December 24*
UPS Worldwide Express®/UPS Worldwide Saver® Dec 19-21 (varies by destination)
UPS Worldwide Expedited® Dec 17-20 (varies by destination)
UPS Standard Varies by U.S. origin and Canadian destination

*Some shipments to and from certain locations may require additional time in transit. For guarantee details, service availability, and delivery time commitments visit Calculate Time and Cost.

UPS peak-season service guarantees: UPS air and international shipments picked up or delivered in the United States are guaranteed throughout the holiday season. Commitment times for international shipments delivered within the United States will be extended by 90 minutes on the following days: Nov. 23, Dec. 18-24 and Dec. 31. The guarantee is suspended for UPS Standard packages picked up or scheduled for delivery between Dec. 11 and Dec. 24. For further details, visit ups.com for UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service.


APO/FPO Delivery
Addressed to Express Mail® Military Service (EMMS)1 First-Class Mail® Service Priority Mail® Service Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL)2 Space Available Mail (SAM)3 Parcel Post® Service
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs™ 090-092Dec. 17Dec. 10Dec. 10Dec. 3Nov. 26Nov. 13
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIP 093N/ADec. 3Dec. 3Nov. 30Nov. 26Nov. 13
APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-098Dec. 17Dec. 10Dec. 10Dec. 3Nov. 26Nov. 13
APO/FPO/DPO AA ZIP 340Dec. 17Dec. 10Dec. 10Dec. 3Nov. 26Nov. 13
APO/FPO/DPO AP ZIPs 962-966Dec. 17Dec. 10Dec. 10Dec. 3Nov. 26Nov. 13

1 EMMS is available to selected military/diplomatic Post Offices™. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO/DPO address.

2 PAL is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. It is available for Parcel Post items not exceeding 30 lbs in weight or 60" in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.

3 SAM parcels are paid at Parcel Post prices with maximum weight and size limits of 15 lbs and 60" in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.


For more specific information regarding holiday shipping deadlines, please see the links below for each carrier:




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