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Understanding USPS 2021 Shipping Rates

Understanding USPS 2021 Shipping Rates

The USPS announced Monday that shipping rates for “competitive” services will be going up on January 24th, including Priority Mail and FCPS. In Monday’s announcement, it focused on “retail” rates – the rates shippers pay at the Post Office.

On Wednesday, it provided additional context for “commercial” rates – those offered by online postage providers.

While retail rates for Priority Mail are rising by an overall average of 3.5% and 1.2% for Priority Mail Express service, commercial rates for Priority Mail are rising an average of 4.2%, and 2.5% for Priority Mail Express.

To give an example of the changes online sellers face, the current (pre-holiday surge pricing) and new commercial rates for Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are as follows:

Small Flat-Rate Box: $7.65 (current), $7.90 (planned)
Medium Flat-Rate Box: $13.20 (current), $13.75 (planned)
Large Flat-Rate Box: $18.30 (current), $19.30 (planned)

It behooves sellers to dig into the new rates – and Stamps.com’s analysis can help. As usual with its rate-hike analysis, Stamps.com provides detailed charts – and it calls out certain patterns it sees, or “points of interest” as it calls them.

Just a few examples of its call-outs:

  • For commercial rates, Priority Mail “Small Flat Rate boxes are increasing only $0.25 (3.5%) while the Large Flat Rate Box is increasing $1.00 (5.46%).”
  • Priority Mail “Regional Rate Box A, the closer shipping zones (Zones 1-5) are seeing a modest 1-2% increase. At Zone 6, the rate increase jumps significantly to 4.46% or higher.”
  • “First Class Package Service remains the best deal across all shipping carriers in the U.S.”

It’s imperative sellers adjust their product prices and/or shipping charges to account for higher costs, not only what they’ll pay in direct shipping costs, but the resulting higher payment-processing costs and, in the case of eBay and Etsy, higher commission fees.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

2 thoughts on “Understanding USPS 2021 Shipping Rates”

  1. I remember/like the good old days when a stamp was a stamp was a stamp. You darned near need a degree in juris prudence to understand the cost of mailing something these days.

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