The US Postal Service filed its request for 2020 postage rates on Wednesday (Oct. 9). We took a quick-and-dirty look published in Wednesday’s blog, which you can read here. If approved by the PRC, the rates would take effect on January 26, 2020.
We also asked a couple of postage providers to weigh in with their thoughts to get something into today’s issue. Despite the tight deadline, Stamps.com’s Eric Nash provided us with his preliminary thoughts.
Nash’s initial impression of the 2020 rate change is that overall, the rate increases are relatively modest for 1 and 2 lb. packages – typical sizes for ecommerce shipments. For packages that weigh 3 lb. and higher, he said the rates get a little more painful, specifically for Zone 8.
Important Note: the rate comparison analysis that follows covers Zones 1/2 through Zone 8 and DOES NOT include Zone 9, which is for U.S. territories. Commercial Base Pricing was used for all rates.
In its press release, the Postal Service said Priority Mail Express would increase 3.5 percent and Priority Mail would increase 4.1 percent, on average. Here’s what Stamps’ Nash had to say:
Priority Mail (Regular)
- Priority Mail (regular): The largest increases are in Zone 8, specifically for 4 lbs. and higher where the rates are increasing by at least $0.53 per package. (Priority Mail 4 lb. to Zone 8 increase to $18.14 from $17.61 in 2019.)
- Priority Mail (regular) – for 1 and 2 lb. packages, the rate increases are fairly modest at a max of $0.17 for 1 lb. Zone 8 to $8.42 (increase of 2.0%) and an increase of $0.33 for 2 lb. Zone 8 to $11.19 (increase of 2.9%).
Priority Mail Regional Rates
- Priority Mail Regional Rate Box A are no longer based on a 2 lb. Priority Mail rate. They have unique rates that are a little higher than 2 lb. Priority Mail rates.
- Priority Mail Regional Rate Box A Zones 1 and 2 through Zone 5 have a max increase of 16 cents – which is pretty small overall (1.8% or lower). Farther shipping zones have a little more sting for Regional Rate Box A – Zone 6 is seeing a 42 cents increase (4.0% higher), Zone 7 is seeing a 58 cents increase (5.2% higher) and Zone 8 is seeing a 90 cents increase (7.4% higher). Since Regional Rate Box A is incredibly popular, that 90 cent increase for Zone 8 is tough.
Priority Mail Flat Rate
- Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Padded Envelope – increasing $0.20 to $7.75 from $7.55 in 2019
- Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box increasing $0.40 to $13.20 from $12.80 in 2019
- Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box – increasing $0.70 to $18.30 from $17.60 in 2019
First Class Package Service
In its press release, the Postal Service did not provide the average increase for First Class Package Service. Here’s what Stamps’ Nash had to say about the 2020 rate change:
- Packages that weight 9 ounces and higher are all seeing increases of 10 cents or more. Zone 8 at 15.999 ounces is seeing an increase of 17 cents (3.0%) to $5.70 from $5.53 in 2019.
- This minor increase is a huge benefit for ecommerce sellers, since the 2019 increase was extremely painful with zone-based pricing being added and rates going up by 11% on average.
- As always, First Class Package Service is by far the best deal in the shipping business. It offers nationwide delivery at $5.70 with tracking in 1 to 3 days. No other carrier can match the delivery service that First Class Package Service offers.
- Parcel Select is now cheaper than Priority Mail for all weights/zones. For 2 lb. Zone 8, Parcel Select is cheaper by 30 cents ($10.89) compared to Priority Mail ($11.19).
Priority Mail International
- The average increase of a Priority Mail International 1 lb. package is increasing by $2.85.
- Priority Mail International packages to the UK are seeing a 6.3% increase for 1 lb. package, to $53.34 from $49.97 in 2019.
- Priority Mail International packages to Australia are seeing a 6.5% increase for a 1 lb. package, to $51.40 from $48.07 in 2019.
- Priority Mail International packages to Canada are seeing an increase of 5.6% for a 1 lb. package, to $35.53 from $33.54 (Zone 1.3) in 2019.
First Class Package International Service
- Delivery to Canada (Country Group 1) is seeing a big price increase. A FCPIS 1 lb. package to Canada is increasing by $3.32 to $19.71 from $16.39 in 2019. A FCPIS 3 lb. package to Canada is increasing by $5.46 to $30.40 from $24.94 in 2019.
- Delivery to Australia/Asia (Country Group 3) is seeing a big price increase. A 1 lb. package to Australia/Asia is increasing by $4.03 to 26.36 from 22.33 in 2019. A 3 lb. package to Australia/Asia is increasing by $7.60, to $40.85 from $33.25 in 2019.
It’s worth repeating: This rate comparison analysis from Stamps.com only includes Zones 1/2 through Zone 8 and does not include Zone 9, which is for U.S. territories. Commercial Base Pricing was used for all rates.
Sellers who rely on the USPS to ship orders should keep an eye on the Stamps.com blog where the company publishes in-depth analysis on rate changes and provides other posts helpful to online shippers.
And if you have questions, please post them in the comments below.
Update 10/19/2019: Stamps.com published its guide to the 2020 USPS rate increases on its blog found here.