2019 Holiday Season Direct Mail Delivery Scheduling

Holiday Season Mail Delivery Rush

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and for marketers to do a little more planning. With the massive increase in volumes that start after Thanksgiving, holiday season direct mail delivery from the USPS tends to slow down.

While the amount of time direct mail spent in delivery can increase, with a little planning, savvy marketers can work around most USPS seasonal slowdowns.

The most important thing to understand are the differences in the way that the USPS treats their mail classes. Standard mail is impacted by the holidays significantly, while first class mail tends to be less affected.

See “When To Use First Class vs. Standard Mail”

To be certain your mail is delivered before 12/25/19:

Postalytics Recommends Sending First Class Campaigns No Later Than December 12th

Postalytics Recommends Sending Standard Class Campaigns No Later Than December 3rd

See 11 Business Holiday Card Best Practices

What Impacts Holiday Season Direct Mail Delivery?

There are several factors that combine during the holiday season to stress the USPS mail delivery system. All told, the USPS will deliver about 15 billion pieces of mail and about 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Greeting Cards

While we know fewer folks are sending personal notes and letters through the mail than in the past, holiday season greeting cards are still incredibly popular. In fact, about 1.5 billion holiday greeting cards are sold every year, representing roughly 60% of all cards sold. Most of these are dropped in the mail, with the hope they’ll be delivered prior to Christmas.


With the massive spending that occurs during the biggest retail season of the year, companies that send catalogs are incredibly active. Most of the catalogers hope to have their books in home the week after Thanksgiving, as their mailing for the last big holiday push.


With e-commerce sales continuing to skyrocket, package delivery becomes a massive priority for the USPS during the holiday season. Some estimates call for up to a 13% jump in e-commerce sales again this year. Starting the week of December 10th, the USPS expects to deliver 200 million packages per week through Christmas. Immediately after Christmas, returns kick in.

First Class Direct Mail Holiday Planning

First Class direct mail is the top priority for the USPS, and the holiday season spike in volume accentuates the delivery differences between first and standard class mail. For this reason, we recommend using the Postalytics First Class option for holiday season direct mail.

While the USPS will make its best efforts to delivery first class mail within the standard timeline, slowdowns inevitably occur. The week of December 17-23rd is incredibly busy for first class mail, due to those holiday greeting cards, with the expectation that 3 billion pieces of first class mail will be delivered.

Postalytics Recommends First Class Mailing No Later Than December 12th For Delivery Before Christmas

Standard Class Mail Holiday Planning

Standard Class mail is dealt with by the USPS after First Class and Parcel deliveries. It is more likely to be delayed when regional or local surges happen and when there’s equipment problems anywhere in the supply chain. As the USPS prepares for the massive spike in First Class and Parcel delivery, holiday season direct mail sent via standard class suffers.

Postalytics Recommends Standard Class Mailing No Later Than December 3rd For Delivery Before Christmas

Standard Class mail that gets caught in the holiday season surge CAN be delivered on a close to normal time-frame, but it also can be significantly delayed. There are stories of standard mail sent in mid December that ends up delivered in late January.

Holiday Season Questions?

If you’d like to speak with one of our experts about your holiday season mailing strategy, we’d love to hear from you!