How to Cut Your Shipping Costs Over Peak Season

While some providers are introducing peak season surcharges, you can continue to save on shipping with UPS through Easyship.
How to Cut Your Shipping Costs Over Peak Season
Ian Heinig

By Ian Heinig


October 11, 2021

Peak season is here again! As your sales start to lift, it's a good idea to consider the 2021 holiday shipping rate increases. Per usual, elevated demand from holiday eCommerce has driven up courier expenses, resulting in slower and costlier shipping for businesses. This familiar economic dance is part of the lead-up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the following holidays.

As of October 2021, all common couriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx) have announced their peak season rate increases and service delays. The USPS rate increases for 2021 are uniquely high, and with the postal system facing overwhelm, keeping customers happy post-sale may be a challenge. So why not just use UPS?

You can now access UPS rates at a deep discount without any peak season surcharge in Easyship! Working with UPS, we offer direct access to discounted UPS Daily Rates,* which effectively mean that UPS® Ground rates for peak season 2021 are more economical than USPS Priority Mail for most packages to most US destinations. One more perk on top of the savings: with UPS, you're using the #1 ranked courier for on-time holiday deliveries.

Use this article to understand the USPS service price increases, plus how to use UPS® Ground service for the best value peak season shipping.

(Someone’s happy about UPS® Ground rates in 2021)

USPS Price Increases And Delays Hit Hard in Peak Season

USPS has implemented its peak season service standards, resulting in new higher surcharges and slower deliveries for key domestic economy services. International shipping will not be impacted. Effective from October 3rd, the peak season standards will expire Sunday, December 26, 2021.

Here are the services seeing the largest increases due to the surcharges:

  • First-Class Package: 8%
  • Priority Mail: 6.3%
  • Parcel Select Ground: 6.2%
  • Priority Mail Express: 2.2%

For eCommerce merchants, prices are going up on USPS Priority Mail, a popular service for shipping packages over one pound. In addition, Priority Mail envelopes and boxes are also seeing a $0.75 per unit increase.

The percentages above reflect the average rate increase across all shipping zones, or the regional categories USPS uses to price services by distance. All surcharges reflect the change to Commercial Plus Pricing, the cheapest possible USPS rates (which Easyship offer all users). Effectively, it’s going to cost more to ship to faraway zones with many USPS services.

Deliveries will also take longer. Services like USPS Priority with delivery lead times of 1-3 days will be extended to 1-5 days in many cases, perhaps even longer! For local deliveries, however, the standard delivery time for a package will remain close to two days.

By way of explanation, USPS has shifted a majority of parcel shipments from air to truck transport. These measures are part of a larger push to reduce expenses but also aim to ease the ongoing staffing shortages and reduced post office hours during the hectic holidays.

"These changes would position us to leverage more cost-effective means to transport First-Class packages via ground rather than using costly air transportation, which is also less reliable due to weather, flight traffic, availability constraints, competition for space, and the added hand-offs involved," said USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum.

Takeaway: USPS Priority Mail is typically the cheapest way to ship lighter eCommerce packages over one pound. Until peak season surcharges expire on December 26, you may want to consider UPS® Ground shipping.

UPS® Ground Shipping Is More Economical Than USPS Priority for Peak Season

After the USPS rate increases for peak season 2021, UPS® Ground service is the most economical way to ship most eCommerce parcels. This assumes that you ship with Easyship, though, which gives you up to 50% off UPS® Ground shipping. With Easyship, you get access to our UPS Daily Rates, the discounted rates reserved for high-volume shippers.

Here’s what’s awesome about UPS® Ground shipping: the heavier and further your shipment, the more you save. UPS® Ground shipping service is set up for heavy items, meaning you can save some big bucks this holiday by switching to UPS over USPS.

Compared below are the peak season rates for UPS® Ground shipping and USPS Priority Mail, with the exact savings with UPS in the right column.

Los Angeles to New York – 12 x 12 x 12” Parcel

Weight USPS Priority Mail UPS® Ground service UPS® Savings
1 pound $9.95 $8.90 $0.65 (10.6%)
2 pounds $12.44 $11.35 $1.09 (8.8%)
5 pounds $22.71 $14.31 $8.40 (37%)
10 pounds $40.42 $17.74 $22.68 (56.1%)

Chicago to Miami – 12 x 12 x 12” Parcel

Weight USPS Priority Mail UPS® Ground service UPS® Savings
1 pound $9.09 $8.54 $0.55 (6.1%)
2 pounds $11.19 $10.12 $1.07 (9.6%)
5 pounds $17.62 $12.89 $4.73 (26.8%)
10 pounds $28.75 $14.43 $14.32 (49.8%)

San Francisco to Los Angeles – 12 x 12 x 12” Parcel

Weight USPS Priority Mail UPS® Ground service UPS® Savings
1 pound $7.92 $7.87 $0.05 (0.6%)
2 pounds $8.49 $8.40 $0.09 (1.1%)
5 pounds $9.78 $9.68 $0.10 (1.0%)
10 pounds $12.90 $12.16 $0.74 (5.7%)

Until peak season surcharges expire on December 26th, UPS® Ground services will be cheaper than USPS Priority Mail for all but very local deliveries.

Unsurprisingly, UPS is expected to be more punctual than the postal system for peak season 2021. UPS® Ground services have a standard delivery lead time of 1-3 business days which won’t be increased for the holidays. But since USPS has extended some of its delivery times for services like Priority and First Class Mail up to five days from three, you can ship just as fast – but more reliably – with UPS.

Compare UPS To USPS To Save

Despite the USPS rate increase for 2021 peak season, rock-bottom shipping is still on the menu. Just login to (or create) your Easyship account and create a shipment with UPS® Ground service. You’ll save up to 50% off UPS daily rates, instantly.

If you’re new to Easyship, you’ll first create a free account. Easyship is 100% free. This means you get to use Easyship free for the first 100 shipments every month.

For example, here are the real rates to ship a 5 lb. parcel from LA to Denver. UPS® Ground shipping is almost half the price of USPS and is discounted at 50% of Daily Rates.

With Easyship, you enjoy the same premium UPS shipping experience, including:

  • No surcharges
  • Reliable shipping, tracking, and customer services
  • Package pickup and drop off
  • $100 liability coverage included

Plus, Easyship gives you a suite of powerful shipping features as part of our all-in-one shipping platform:

  • Automated shipping label generation
  • Live couriers rates in your checkout
  • Accurate duty and tax in checkout
  • Shipping insurance up to $10,000
  • 24/7 award-winning customer support

Swapping out USPS Priority for UPS® Ground shipping during peak season can be a big saver with huge upside, in other words.

Ready to start saving on shipping for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holidays? Just create your free Easyship account. We’re 100% free to use for your first 100 shipments each month, and the deeply discounted rates are available to you instantly.

Related Post: USPS vs. UPS Prices


  1. Discounts are off UPS® Daily Rates. Rates are limited to shipping from the U.S. only. Rates and any applicable discounts are subject to change at any time without notice.
  2. The rates shown do not apply to merchants on Easyship using an existing UPS® account (Link Your Own Courier). Users who you have linked a UPS account can find more information on the rate changes on or by contacting their UPS representative.