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What is Economy Shipping and Is It Right for Your Business

Time to read: 4 minutes

Shipping policies are crucial for an eCommerce operation. In fact, its delivery process hinges on it. Any lapse and it can significantly affect order fulfillment, customer satisfaction, and client loyalty. 

For most retailers, finding a reliable and affordable eCommerce shipping solution is imperative in determining its success. But every online business is different as various industries have other requirements from their shipping providers. 

Most eCommerce companies can choose from three main delivery options – expedited shipping, standard shipping, and economy shipping. This time let us tell you about economy shipping – the inclusions, the benefits, and the drawbacks. 

What is economy shipping?

Economy shipping is the most affordable option for shipping packages, and it’s the best choice for deliveries that aren’t sensitive. Economy parcels get delivered at the same time as packages shipped via standard shipping. It’s one reason there were more than 3 billion parcels delivered during the 2020 holiday season.

Most carriers offer economy shipping. For retailers, this option is ideal for keeping delivery costs down. It is also the best choice for items that are bulky or fragile. 

Standard shipping vs. Economy shipping: Choosing the Right Option 

Economy shipping is not at all that different from standard shipping. There are, however, a few differences  & considerations to take note of: 


Economy shipping is the most affordable option (or the least expensive) for sending out parcels.  This method ships items in bulk to keep the costs low. On the other hand, standard shipping handles a smaller number of items hence the faster delivery time. 

Transit time

Depending on the parcel’s urgency, the transit time gap between standard shipping and economy shipping is almost negligible. On average, economy class parcels get delivered two to ten days later than standard shipping packages. If there isn’t a need to expedite a package’s arrival, go for economy shipping. 

Tracking option

Tracking is available for both economy and standard shipping options but monitoring the package depends on the carrier. However, some retailers say that economy shipping tracking is not as efficient as other alternatives. This method might be because, with economy deliveries, scanning only happens when the parcels are collected and delivered. Moreover, because packets get grouped in a bulk shipment, it is more challenging to keep track of individual packages. 

Benefits of Economy Shipping

The benefits that come with shipping through economy class outweigh the drawbacks:


If you need to ship items in bulk and don’t need them expedited, the economy is still the most cost-efficient shipping option. 

For reference, USPS’ economy shipping option, or USPS Parcel Select, costs around $3.30 for a package that weighs 1lb. Their standard shipping service, or First-Class Package Service, is $3.01 for parcels that should not exceed 1 oz. 

Comparatively Quick

The turnaround time for economy shipping is relatively quick, especially for domestic orders. It is not the recommended option for international orders. But it depends on business requirements.

USPS’ Parcel Select deliveries take anywhere from 2 to 8 days to arrive. Their standard shipping service guarantees that a parcel is at the customer’s doorstep in less than three days. 

Ideal for Bulk Orders and Fragile Items 

Shipping bulky or fragile items even within the same country can be costly. The economy options make shipping bulky and heavy items, 50 lbs, and above more affordable. 

Shipping a 50 lb item through USPS’ Parcel Select costs around $30. Meanwhile, the same package sent through standard shipping can set a retailer back at least $50. 

Carriers that Offer Economy Shipping

Four significant carriers offer international economy shipping:


DHL is the best option for retailers that service international customers. This carrier offers economy shipping to 220 countries. Unlike other companies, the transit time for DHL parcels depends on the destination. However, they provide an option for simplified customs clearance: a boon for both retailers and their customers. 

DHL’s economy shipping is limited to parcels that are less than 2 kilograms in total weight. It’s best reserved for smaller packages because of this limitation. 


One of the best things about choosing FedEx’s economy shipping is its definite delivery times. They service 215 countries. However, regardless of the destination, the packages arrive at their destination within 2 to 5 business days. This carrier allows parcels of up to 150 lbs with a maximum length of 108″ and 13″ in length plus girth. 

FedEx is the best choice for customers interested in purchasing more oversized products within a relatively short time frame. 


Similar to FedEx, USPS offers definite transit times for parcels shipped through the economy option. The carrier is ideal for merchants that carry larger products up to 70 lbs in weight and 130 inches in combined length and width.

USPS economy parcels’ usual turnaround time is 2 to 8 days, an excellent option for larger non-urgent packages. 


UPS is the middle ground out of the four popular carriers. The company guarantees delivery within one to five days from the pick-up time. What sets UPS apart is the option they give to customers that allows them to know in advance the exact date a shipment would be delivered. 

Is Economy Shipping Right for you?

The choice of shipping carrier plays a significant role in the success of an eCommerce company. It is a balancing act between settling for a service provider that offers the best pricing and finding the right logistics company to ensure timely deliveries. Retailers should be looking for partners that are quick, reliable, and affordable. 

But making that decision isn’t that easy. There’s a lot to consider, and not all eCommerce companies are created equal. Thankfully, there’s ZhenHub to help. ZhenHub experts can guide you through the selection process. What are you waiting for? Sign up today to learn more about our technology-powered logistics solutions.

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