January 8, 2020 (RISC-WP-20-002)

  • The same-day delivery of merchandise and groceries in the U.S. accounted for only 249 million packages in 2018, making it a niche market with uncertain financial and growth prospects.
  • The next-day delivery of parcels may well become a more critical segment than same-day — which bodes well for the Postal Service’s leading role in this market.

Although it is a rapidly growing market, same-day delivery of merchandise and groceries to consumers represented 249 million packages in 2018 — only 2 percent of the total domestic parcels market. Additionally, the business model used by some major same-day providers is unsustainable because it loses money with each delivery. The OIG found that many consumers are unwilling to pay for same-delivery at any price. If they are interested at all, it is mostly for urgent needs like medications or groceries.

Should same-day delivery remain a niche product mostly appealing to urban Millennials, next-day delivery could instead become the “new normal” for many online orders. As it keeps one eye on the future of same-day delivery, the Postal Service should also continue to focus on next-day delivery through flagship offerings such as Parcel Select Destination Delivery Unit (DDU). Failing to do so could jeopardize the long-term viability of its unmatched last-mile network.

Read full report

We welcome your comments related to the topic on this page. Complaints about the Postal Service, including lost, stolen or mishandled mail, that are unrelated to the content on this page, will not be posted. Please visit the Contact Us page for information on where to file formal complaints with our agency or the Postal Service.

Leave a comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


  • Jean Philippe Ducasse, Jeffrey Colvin, Jake Soffronoff and Richard Schadelbauer contributed to this report.

Share this post

Contact Us

For questions, media inquiries, or to obtain more information regarding this report, please contact Agapi Doulaveris at 703-248-2286 or by email