2018 USPS First Class Package Service Rate Increase: A Deep Dive

By Rob Zaleski
Dec 5, 2017
First Class package shipping rates

On January 21, 2018, the new USPS rates went into effect. Most Shipping Services products averaged a 3.9% price increase across the board, including a USPS First Class package shipping rate increase, which increased an average of 5.36%. In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into what exactly First Class package shipping is, who should use it, and the 2018 increases.

What is First Class package shipping?

First Class package service is best used to ship lighter items, those under 15.99 ounces. If an envelope is too small and a standard box is too big, you need something just right! If your shipment is less than a pound and is being shipped in a custom box or envelope, taking advantage of a First Class package shipping rate is the most affordable option. In most cases, delivery will be within three days, though that’s not a guarantee.

First Class Package Shipping Features

  • Domestic delivery within 1-5 business days (delivery times vary for international)
  • NOT a guaranteed service, so may experience delays
  • Rates determined by package weight (international rates by package weight and country group)
  • Delivery confirmation (tracking) is included free for all domestic and some international shipments
  • Maximum dimensions for domestic shipments is 22” x 18” x 15”
  • Maximum weight for domestic shipments is 15.99 ounces
  • Cannot be used for restricted, hazardous, or prohibited materials, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco

Who should use First Class Package shipping and when?

If you don’t need the package to arrive guaranteed in a short period of time, and the items are lighter (clothing and jewelry, for example), First Class package shipping can be a cost-effective way to ship. For last minute shoppers around holidays or sales, it may not be ideal. Your customers may, however, appreciate the tracking included with the lower-cost First Class package service if they’re ordering with enough lead time for you to offer it. If you’re using First Class package service, you’ll want to be clear about estimated delivery dates. Depending on which day of the week a holiday falls on, you could still get packages to customers on Saturdays, but cannot guarantee it.

Commercial Plus shipping rates are available for First Class package service through ShippingEasy with no volume requirements, which are what you’ll see in the chart below.

What are the 2018 First Class package shipping rate increases?

As mentioned above, First Class package rates increased in 2018 at an average of 5.36%. But you’ll see that for some weights, the increase is rather minimal. Take a look at the new rates compared to 2017’s rates below:

2018 First Class Package shipping rate increase

You may notice the rates are the same for 1 – 4 ounces, which is not ideal for those sellers shipping lighter items. This is something to keep in mind, as it can help when considering strategies like bundling, where you could possibly ship a few 1 oz items for the same price. This also provides an opportunity to include marketing materials, flyers, or coupons to encourage repeat business. The lighter weight of these materials shouldn’t put your package weight above the 4-oz limit and can get customers to shop again.

For another Deep Dive segment covering Priority Mail International shipping rates, head here.

Or, if you’re ready to start saving on shipping with the best rates available, let’s set up a demo to go over how ShippingEasy can make 2018 your best year yet!


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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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