Changes Coming to USPS Delivery Standards

The Postal Service has announced upcoming changes to USPS delivery standards. Learn about what’s ahead and the potential impacts on your business.

Update Oct 15

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the USPS has announced that the outlined changes to delivery standards for their First Class Mail services will no longer go into effect this quarter. These delivery standards will be reviewed following the busy holiday season to minimize the impacts to their customers.


In March 2021, the United States Postal Service (USPS) unveiled the Delivering for America plan, their 10-year strategy for sustainability. This strategic plan will introduce a number of changes to the USPS’s service offerings in an effort to revamp the Postal Service for today’s postal and shipping challenges.

In the age of booming ecommerce businesses, one of the biggest challenges for all carriers continues to be meeting delivery standards and managing customer expectations. As a result, the Delivering for America plan includes changes to USPS delivery standards for some services.

What’s Changing?

The United States Postal Service has announced that they will be extending the delivery standards for their First Class Mail and First Class Package services. This is will help the USPS meet service performance targets with more attainable delivery standards, resulting in more accurate delivery estimates.

Moreover, this comes at a time when USPS is also experimenting with a project called USPS Connect, offering same-day delivery for small businesses in focused areas around the United States.

First Class Mail Services (Letters, Cards, Flats and Periodicals)

  • USPS is adding 1-2 business days to transit times for a minority of shipments
    • This means a new delivery standard of 1-5 days
  • Overall, the estimated transit times for roughly 70% of shipments will remain within the current standard of 1-3 days

First Class Package Services (Thick Envelopes, Parcels)

  • USPS is offering a new delivery standard of 2-5 days for their First Class Package service
  • Overall, the majority of shipments (68%) will retain a current delivery standard of 2-3 days
    • Roughly 17% will move to 4-day and 15% to 5-day delivery
    • A small percentage of shipments will also improve from 3-day to 2-day delivery

These extended delivery estimates are the result of a switch to surface-only transport for a large percentage of USPS shipments. This means that fewer shipments sent with USPS First Class services will travel by air.

It’s a little-known fact but the USPS does not own transport planes and thus hopes to provide more consistent service without a need to rely on third parties for air transport. This also allows the USPS to better utilize their existing ground fleet network in which their trucks currently operate at a roughly 40% capacity on average.

The Impact to Your Business

The switch to these new delivery standards will mean:

  1. More reliable transit estimates for your customers
  2. Longer delivery estimates for your USPS and Chit Chats U.S. Tracked shipments
    • Shipments travelling further are more likely to feel the impact
    • If a longer transit time is not a concern for your business, check out our Chit Chats U.S. Economy Tracked option for lower postage costs.

However, if you have shipments that need a quicker delivery time, there’s no need to worry. Delivery standards for USPS Priority Mail will remain within 1-3 days (excluding Alaska & Hawaii).

While the USPS reports that October 1, 2021 is when these new delivery standards will go into effect, we expect a slow transition period. In the meantime, we will closely monitor our USPS service offerings and will notify you of any transit time updates.