Sep 21, 2023 - Economy

USPS ditches holiday surcharges despite stamp price hikes

Mail truck with postal worker opening a mailbox

The U.S. Postal Service is not charging holiday surcharges this year. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

After years of holiday pricing hikes, the United States Postal Service said it won't levy any additional surcharges during the peak 2023 holiday season.

The big picture: It's a surprise move for USPS — which has raised stamp prices three times in 12 months — since UPS and FedEx have already announced surcharges for the upcoming peak season.

  • Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy said in a statement that "with no holiday surcharges" the service is "strongly positioned to be America's most affordable delivery provider this holiday season."
  • USPS also says there will be no additional fees for residential area delivery, Saturday delivery or minimum volumes.

What's happening: UPS and FedEx holiday surcharges will start in October and both carriers have announced 2024 rate increases.

  • This is the first year USPS won't have a holiday surcharge since it started charging it in 2020.

By the numbers: USPS said it processed more than 11.7 billion pieces of mail and packages during the 2022 holiday season.

  • It took 2.5 days on average for mail and packages to be delivered.

Between the lines: Ditching the surcharge can help draw more business to USPS, Matt Huckeba, executive vice president of parcel solutions for Evans Transportation Services, told Axios.

  • "Avoiding increasing costs over the holiday period is some great 'free marketing' to draw shippers to the USPS product offerings and demonstrate that they are a viable solution for customer needs," Huckeba said.

Yes, but: Kevin Yoder, executive director of the advocacy group Keep US Posted, told Axios that "DeJoy should apply the same strategy to all mail instead of plowing ahead with stamp increases every six months."

  • "If more affordable package prices over the holidays means pricier stamps all year long, it's not necessarily a win for consumers," said Yoder, a former Republican congressman from Kansas. "We need affordability for both mail and packages all year long."

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