As an experienced Amazon seller, one of the most common questions I get is: Does Amazon deliver its packages through USPS?
The short answer is yes, Amazon leverages USPS to deliver a substantial portion of its packages. Read on as I provide an in-depth look at how this arrangement works from a seller‘s perspective, including why Amazon uses USPS, how the deliveries work, and what it means for your business.
Why Amazon Relies on USPS as a Delivery Partner
Before diving into the specifics, it‘s important to understand why Amazon partners with USPS in the first place. There are a few compelling reasons this arrangement makes sense:
Cost Savings – Despite Amazon‘s own delivery investments, USPS can still provide cheaper parcel delivery at massive scale, especially to more rural and remote regions. This saves Amazon billions while maintaining profits.
Delivery Speed – USPS offers 1-3 day delivery to every address in America. For Prime members who expect quick shipping, USPS is a key enabler.
Customer Experience – Buyers recognize and trust USPS. The postal carrier provides a familiar face and reassurance packages are from a legitimate source.
Revenue for USPS – USPS was losing billions before Amazon came along. Package delivery now provides vital revenue as their core mail business declines.
Last-Mile Reach – USPS delivers everywhere and has highly refined last-mile processes. Amazon relies on this capillarity to fill gaps in their own network.
Now let‘s analyze the extent to which Amazon leverages USPS and how it works.
Just How Much Does Amazon Use USPS for Delivery?
While Amazon does not disclose specifics, analysts estimate USPS delivers 30-45% of Amazon‘s packages in 2023. For context, Amazon shipped over 5 billion packages globally in 2021. So if we take the midpoint of 37.5%, that equates to nearly 2 billion Amazon packages handled annually by USPS.
As an Amazon seller myself, I can confirm USPS handles a very significant share of Amazon‘s overall volume. In my experience, at least 1 in 3 of my own orders end up with USPS for final delivery.
During peak times like Prime Day or the holidays, Amazon leans even more heavily on USPS to provide extra capacity to meet surges in demand. There is simply no rivaling the USPS network‘s ability to scale up or down as needed.
How Does the Amazon and USPS Delivery Process Work?
Now that we‘ve established the scale of Amazon‘s reliance on USPS, let‘s walk through exactly how the delivery process functions:
Order placed on Amazon – Customer adds items to cart and checks out, sending the order details to Amazon
Fulfillment center picks & packs order – Amazon forwards the details to the fulfillment center holding the inventory which is picked, packed and labeled
Amazon transports to USPS facility – Packages are trucked from fulfillment center to the closest USPS processing plant
USPS sorts & dispatches – At the USPS facility, the Amazon package is sorted by ZIP code and routed to the destination post office
Letter carrier receives package – USPS letter carrier picks up all mail and packages for their route, including Amazon parcel
USPS delivers to customer – Letter carrier travels the route delivering mail and packages, including the Amazon order
This approach allows Amazon to consolidate packages to destinations for savings on long-distance transportation. USPS then handles the affordale last-mile delivery leveraging its unparalleled local network.
As you can see, the handoff to USPS typically happens at a regional level, not locally. This allows Amazon to agglomerate volume and work with larger USPS facilities for efficiency.
How Reliable is USPS Delivery Performance for Amazon Packages?
As an Amazon seller, package delivery performance is incredibly important for customer satisfaction. How reliably and quickly does USPS deliver Amazon packages?
While Amazon does not share carrier-specific metrics, USPS reports 96% on-time delivery of all packages in 2022. However, USPS methodology considers a package delivered "on-time" if it arrives by the service day stated at purchase. It does not factor actual transit time.
Independent analysis shows average transit times for USPS Priority Mail packages was just 2.5 days in 2022. However, up to 20% of packages took 4 days or longer. See the data:
|Delivery Timeframe||% of USPS Priority Mail Packages|
As you can see, USPS delivers most Amazon packages reasonably quickly. However, there is a longer tail with the on-time rates.
In my experience as a seller, when delivery issues do pop up, USPS packages see slightly higher late delivery and loss rates compared to UPS and FedEx. But for the cost savings, it‘s usually an acceptable tradeoff.
Can Amazon Customers Opt-Out of USPS Delivery?
Some Amazon shoppers have expressed frustration with USPS losing or damaging packages, or delays. Understandably, this leads them to ask if it‘s possible to avoid USPS handling their Amazon orders.
The short answer is: not directly, but there are some workarounds.
When checking out on Amazon there is no option to select a carrier. However, experienced shoppers use these tips to route packages away from USPS:
Choose expedited shipping, which typically defaults to UPS or FedEx
Ship to an Amazon locker location instead of home delivery
Buy from 3rd party sellers using UPS/FedEx (see seller shipping options)
Call Amazon support to request alternate carrier (no guarantee)
Use Amazon Key In-Garage for secure self-service delivery
Consolidate orders to one day with Amazon Day delivery
So while Amazon doesn‘t let you choose, savvy shoppers have found ways to influence the carrier selection away from USPS in select circumstances. But for most orders, you get what you get.
Will Amazon Eventually Stop Using USPS Entirely?
Given the rapid growth of Amazon‘s own end-to-end delivery network, some speculate they may eventually dump USPS as a partner. However, that is unlikely to happen completely.
Experts project Amazon will top out at around 80% self-delivery. They will still rely on partners like USPS for the remaining 10-20% of volume. There are a few reasons Amazon still needs USPS:
Reaching remote, rural, and island locations cost-effectively
Handling overflow capacity during peak demand periods
Providing supplemental bandwidth as Amazon‘s network grows
USPS can still offer the cheapest solution for many tricky addresses
So while Amazon‘s in-house logistics are expanding quickly, USPS retains unique capabilities Amazon simply can‘t replicate overnight. The USPS relationship likely continues indefinitely in some form.
The Future of the Amazon and USPS Partnership
As an Amazon seller, I‘ll be keeping an eye on how this strategic relationship evolves. I expect Amazon‘s reliance on USPS to gradually decline over time as their internal network matures.
However, Amazon is ruthlessly customer-focused. As long as USPS provides acceptable service levels for the cost, the partnership will remain strong. There are simply realities of US logistics that USPS is uniquely positioned to handle better than anyone.
For sellers like myself, we must work diligently to delight customers regardless of the carrier. Proper expectations set around shipping and reliable tracking updates become even more important when USPS is in the mix.
Understanding Amazon‘s relationship with USPS provides helpful context both as a seller and consumer. I hope this guide gave you clarity into how it works and why Amazon will continue using USPS well into the future. Let me know if you have any other questions!