What Is Economy Shipping? Delivery Time & Costs Explained

What Is Economy Shipping

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Shipping is the lifeblood of your ecommerce business, allowing your customers to buy goods without leaving their home.

That’s why finding a reliable and affordable courier service provider is critical to your success.

In this blog, I’ll discuss what is economy shipping, how it’s different from other shipping methods, and which couriers provide the best service.

Let’s get started.

What is Economy Shipping?

For online business owners, economy shipping services are the most affordable transportation method ideal for less time-sensitive packages and parcels.

While this shipping method takes longer than expedited and standard shipping, it remains a cost-effective way to send items, especially if you want to keep your delivery costs down.

With economy shipping, domestic packages (within the US) usually arrive at their destination within one to five days. The estimated arrival largely depends on two factors: the courier and the shipping zone.

Economy shipping comes in different options (land, air, and sea), with ground shipping being the most common and affordable method.

How Long Does Economy Shipping Take?

How Long Does Economy Shipping Take?

Economy shipping within the US generally takes one to five business days, depending on the package’s destination. If you’re sending a parcel within the same state, expect a quicker delivery time than when shipping to a different state.

Meanwhile, shipping to an international destination will take much longer—an average delivery period of six to 15 days.

After all, the economy shipping time largely depends on the shipping zone (state or country).

How Much Is Economy Shipping?

Most major couriers use a pricing method called dimensional weight to calculate the economy shipping rates. This method involves multiplying the height, length, and width of the package.

Other courier services, meanwhile, use a pricing method that combines the weight and size of the package.

Aside from the size and weight of parcels, the pick-up point and destination dictate the economy shipping rate.

To give you an idea about the cost of economy services, the starting cost of a package below 70 lbs. of USPS economy shipping is $8.70.

Benefits of Economy Shipping

The benefits of economy shipping go far beyond being the most affordable delivery service. Here are the reasons you should consider this shipping solution for your business:

Increased Profit Margin

Did you know that shipping accounts for one of the biggest operating expenses for most ecommerce businesses? Fortunately, economy shipping rates can be as low as $3 per pound.

On the other hand, expedited or overnight shipping typically costs twice as much as economy shipping.

By choosing a cost-effective shipping option, you can increase your profit margin and improve your cash flow.

Ideal for Bulk Orders and Fragile Items

Couriers that offer economy shipping have competitive rates for bulk orders, including those with irregularly shaped and fragile items.

By contrast, shipping bulky and sensitive items through expedited delivery service may eat up a lot of your profit margin.

Reliable Service

In general, major carriers offering economy services are reliable business partners. On average, domestic packages take less than a week to arrive at their destination, which is almost the same as the standard shipping method.

But with international shipments, the standard shipping method is quicker than economy services.

What Is Economy Ground Shipping?

Economy Ground Shipping

Ground shipping refers to delivering packages and parcels in trucks, not in flight. On the other hand, economy shipping services have the lowest shipping rates. So when you combine the two, you get the cheapest deal.

With economy ground shipping, domestic packages usually arrive at their destination between one and five business days. Because this method uses land transportation, it’s ideal for bulky items that are not time-sensitive.

Economy Vs Ground Shipping

Economy shipping refers to the cheapest rates, while ground shipping means products travel by road or rail (and not through vast oceans or air).

Occasionally, you’ll hear people use the term economy shipping or economic shipping to refer to ground shipping and vice versa.

Economy Shipping Vs Standard Shipping

For domestic packages, there isn’t much of a difference between economy and standard shipping. The transit times for both shipping methods are roughly the same—usually less than a week.

However, you’ll see the difference when it comes to international deliveries.

Economy international shipping takes a few more days or weeks than standard shipping.

Economy Shipping Time Vs Expedited Shipping

Expedited shipping, also called express shipping, is the fastest and most expensive delivery service. In general, this includes two-day, next-day, and same-day deliveries.

There are products and scenarios in which this method makes more sense than economy shipping. For instance, a business owner selling perishable goods needs express shipping to reach the destination as quickly as possible.

Companies selling seasonal products (e.g., holiday decorations, swimsuits, winter jackets, etc.) also need international and domestic expedited delivery.

If you’re not dealing with a strict delivery deadline, economy shipping makes more sense since expedited shipping costs are so high and can eat up a huge portion of your profit.

Best Couriers with Economy Shipping Services

Most major couriers offer international and domestic economy shipping to ecommerce business owners. Oftentimes, they have shipping tracking services so their clients can see their packages at any given time.



This courier offers one of the lowest rates and guarantees domestic shipping time between one and five days from the pick-up time.

UPS also offers international shipping options to 210 countries at low delivery costs.



USPS shipping service guarantees delivery time within two to eight days, making it ideal for bulky packages that are not time sensitive.

The courier also offers economy shipping tracking to retailers and ecommerce operators.



This courier services 215 countries and is ideal for companies with a solid international presence.

One of DHL‘s delivery benefits is the simplified customs clearance that makes it easy for ecommerce companies to send packages abroad.



FedEx also offers a simplified customs clearance system and sophisticated real-time tracking information. As a result, it’s popular among companies that need domestic and international deliveries.

Commercial operators and consumers can expect their FedEx parcels to arrive at their destination between two and five days.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Long Does USPS Economy Shipping Take?

USPS economy service’s timeframe (within the US) is one to three business days.

How Long Does International Economy Shipping Take?

The timeframe for international economy delivery service varies from courier to courier and how far the destination is. However, it usually takes five to 18 business days.

How Long Does FedEx International Economy Take?

For international shipments, the FedEx international economy shipping time is typically between two and five business days.

  • Canada and Puerto Rico — 2-3 days

  • Asia and Latin America — 3-4 days

  • Europe — 4 days

 What Is Free Economy Shipping?

If you see “free economy shipping” on Amazon and other online retailers, it means shipping is free if you meet the minimum threshold of eligible items.

Is Economy or Ground Shipping Faster?

It depends on several factors, including the destination, mode of transportation (water, air, and land), and courier. But do note that air freight is faster than ocean shipping .

Ocean shipments typically take a few weeks or even months to arrive, while air freight usually reaches its destination in one to two days.

Is Economy Shipping Faster Than Standard?

Not really, especially when it comes to domestic shipping. If there is any difference between these two shipping methods, it’s very negligible, since their average delivery lead time is three to five business days.

However, the standard shipping method is faster than the economy shipping option when we’re talking about international shipments.

The Bottom Line

If you own an ecommerce business, economical shipping is definitely worth considering because it can help you save money on delivery costs.

However, this cheap shipping method may not be the right choice if you’re dealing with time-sensitive items. In this situation, you may want to sign up for Rapid Express Freight’s service.

Rapid Express Freight is touted to be one of the best shipping companies in terms of time, security, and cost.

I hope that this guide helped you understand what is economy shipping, and helped you choose the best shipping method for your business.

Written by: Omar Deryan

Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

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