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Amazon, Walmart and Target all released shipping information for last-minute holiday purchases, including same-day delivery.

Retailers are reminding consumers about delivery options as Christmas quickly approaches. Walmart, Amazon and Target, all major U.S. ecommerce players, promoted last-minute holiday shipping capabilities on their websites. 

All three retailers rank in The Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s database of the largest online retailers in North America by web sales. Amazon ranks No. 1, followed by Walmart at No. 2 and Target at No. 5.

“Amazon and Walmart are both pushing the convenience angle. They know some consumers always have last-minute holiday shopping to complete, so want to offer easy and simple options to accommodate that,” says Neil Saunders, managing director at retail analysis firm Global Data. “Because of the speed, express delivery can be used right until the cutoff date so it allows for later shopping. In the case of Walmart, collection from store is a great option as it can be used up until the last day of trading.”

Last-minute holiday shipping options

The biggest online retailers are doing their best to woo shoppers who waited until late in the game to shop.

Amazon added a designation through search and item descriptions stating if an item will arrive before Christmas. The massive online retailer also says tens of millions of products in popular gifting categories like electronics and beauty are available for same-day shipping. Same-day delivery from Amazon is available in more than 90 U.S. metro areas, and eligible products display a countdown timer noting how much time a customer has to order and receive items on the same day. The expedited shipping option is free for Prime members on orders over $25, or can be added for a $2.99 fee for smaller orders. Non-Prime members must pay $9.99 for the service.


Walmart also added last-minute options to find and receive gifts, taking advantage of its vast network of stores. The retailer says the order deadline for next-day shipping before Christmas is 2 p.m. on Dec. 21. For shoppers cutting it closer, same-day curbside pickup and delivery will both run through Dec. 24 at 4 p.m., with an order deadline of 12 p.m. that day. Walmart also offers express delivery, which arrives in two hours. That service will also run through 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, charging a fee of $10. Walmart+ members receive one free express delivery during December with their membership.

Even after Walmart’s services stop running on Christmas Eve, Target is still an option. Consumers can place curbside and buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) orders as late as 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The deadline to receive an order by delivery is 4 p.m. on Dec. 24, with delivery through Target’s Shipt service in as little as one hour. Target’s same-day delivery costs $9.99 for non-members and is free for Shipt members on orders over $35.

Holiday shipping landscape

The median cutoff date to receive an order by Christmas with standard shipping is Dec. 15, according to a panel of 100 online retailers in the Top 1000. The median date for any type of shipping is Dec. 18. 

As Christmas gets closer and consumers have fewer options to receive gifts in time, they become more willing to pay for shipping, says Krish Iyer, vice president of strategic partnerships at ecommerce shipping vendor Auctane. $9 is the “sweet spot” of what consumers are willing to pay for premium shipping, Iyer says based on Auctane’s research. That’s not necessarily the true cost of shipping the item on a short timeline, he says.


“Maybe you’re [as a retailer] not going to make money off of that, but you’ll give your customers options and they are willing to pay for it. So subsidizing [shipping] on both ends probably makes some sense,’ he says.

Consumers should expect to receive orders on time, Saunders says.

“Holiday fulfillment has been relatively smooth this year because retailers’ plans have not been thrown off track by unexpected events. Volumes are high, but they are not spiking like they did in previous years.” He added that Walmart and Amazon both invested heavily in fulfillment in 2023, which is paying off now. 

Data from logistics consulting vendor ShipMatrix also shows fulfillment hasn’t been the source of any major issues yet this year. FedEx, UPS, and USPS are each operating at some of their highest on-time shipping rates in years, at 97.8%, 98.0%, and 95.2%, respectively. In 2022, the on-time shipping rates were 95.3, 96.6%, and 95.8%.


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