The agency expects its holiday package volume to increase 12% this year thanks to online shoppers.

The U.S. Postal Service will start making deliveries seven days a week starting Nov. 17 as online shoppers get serious about their holiday shopping.

The Sunday delivery program will run until Christmas Day, the federal agency says, and will involve “most major metropolitan areas,” a postal spokesman says without being more specific. Thanks to e-commerce, the agency expects approximately 12% growth in its package business for the holidays, with some 450 million to 470 million packages going to U.S. consumers. In Canada, by comparison, Canada Post expects a 20% year-over-year increase in parcel volumes in November and December.

“Football has its season. But the holidays? That’s our season,” says Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “That’s crunch time for us, and year after year, we step up our game. E-commerce package business continues to be a big player now more than ever, so we’ve enhanced our network to ensure America that we’ll deliver their cards, gifts and letters in time for the holidays.”

The Postal Service this week released these deadlines to ensure packages are delivered by Christmas:

  • Dec. 2 – First-Class Mail International/Priority Mail International
  • Dec. 10 – Priority Mail Express International
  • Dec. 15 – Standard Post
  • Dec. 17 – Global Express Guaranteed
  • Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail/Priority Mail (domestic)
  • Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express (domestic)

The Postal Service plans to spread the word about this year’s Sunday deliveries through an ad campaign that will include direct mail, TV, print and social media.


The Postal Service’s competitors previously announced their holiday shipping plans. United Parcel Service Inc., which anticipates an 11% spike in shipments in December, is adding 10% more doors for loading delivery vans than during the 2013 peak period and will spend $175 million to improve its operations during the coming holiday season. Last year, UPS took much of the blame for online orders that didn’t arrive by Christmas. FedEx Corp., projecting an 8.8% increase in holiday deliveries, said it would hire 50,000 package handlers, helpers, drivers and other workers to help the shipping carrier get packages from e-retailers to online shoppers this holiday season.

The Postal Service’s Sunday delivery push comes as the agency tries to capture a bigger part of the e-commerce revenue stream. Last month, for instance, USPS won approval to expand a test of the delivery of groceries bought online to consumers in San Francisco. The agency is working with Inc. to get groceries to online shoppers.