What Is Economy Shipping?

Explore the ins and outs of economy shipping — its benefits, how it differs from other methods, and the top carriers offering this service.

Jim Sharkey
September 26, 2023
lots of containers ready to be shipped

In today's bustling e-commerce world, businesses and consumers are constantly looking for efficient and cost-effective ways to send and receive goods. Enter economy shipping — a method that balances speed and affordability, making it an enticing choice for many.

Whether you're a small business owner trying to understand your shipping options or a frequent online shopper curious about transit times, this guide delves into the ins and outs of economy shipping, helping you decipher if it's the right choice for your needs.

What Does Economy Shipping Mean?

Economy shipping is a delivery service for businesses and individuals to send packages without incurring high shipping costs. Unlike express shipping, which prioritizes speed, or standard shipping, which might offer a specific timeframe, economy shipping focuses on offering lower-cost solutions without a strict delivery speed guarantee. Typically, economy shipping takes anywhere from one to five business days for domestic shipping, though international deliveries may vary. 

Major courier services, such as USPS, FedEx, and DHL, offer economy shipping services. For instance, FedEx has its FedEx Ground Economy and FedEx International Economy, and USPS boasts USPS Ground Advantage. It's a go-to shipping solution for e-commerce businesses, especially when the delivery isn't time-sensitive. While it might not be the quickest, the benefits of economy shipping make it a popular choice among business owners and consumers alike.

How Does Economy Shipping Differ From Other Options?

The landscape of shipping solutions can be overwhelming, with various methods catering to distinct needs, delivery speeds, and budgets. Each shipping method boasts its strengths and purposes. Here, we dissect how economy shipping compares to standard, ground, and expedited options.

Economy vs. Standard

Economy and standard shipping are terms often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences between them. As we've established, economy shipping focuses primarily on being cost-effective for both businesses and consumers. While its delivery times are often reasonable, it doesn’t make any hard promises on exact delivery dates.

On the other hand, standard shipping typically guarantees a specific shipping time frame, such as two to five business days. It might cost slightly more than economy but offers better predictability, making it preferable for those who have a tighter delivery window but aren’t in a rush for next-day service.

Economy vs. Ground

Ground shipping, like UPS Ground or FedEx Ground, refers to packages delivered via ground transport rather than air. It’s geographically restricted and typically used for domestic shipping.

Economy shipping might use both ground and air, depending on the shipping zone and the courier’s discretion. The main difference boils down to the shipping time and cost. Ground shipping often has quicker transit times in closer shipping zones but can be slower for cross-country deliveries compared to some other options.

Economy vs. Expedited

Expedited shipping is the go-to for time-sensitive deliveries. If you're an e-commerce business owner with a customer who needs an item for a special event tomorrow, expedited or express shipping is the answer. These shipping methods prioritize speed above all, often promising next-day or even same-day delivery.

Naturally, this speed comes at a premium. Economy shipping, while not as quick as expedited, offers a more balanced approach, focusing on lower costs and a reasonably short delivery time. Economy shipping serves as a middle ground for shipments that aren’t urgent but still need to reach their destination in a relatively timely manner.

What Are the Benefits of Economy Shipping?

Navigating the shipping options available to online businesses and consumers often boils down to identifying the tangible benefits of each method. Economy shipping has risen in popularity, especially among e-commerce businesses and savvy shoppers, due to its unique blend of advantages. Let's talk about why economy shipping might be the optimal choice for many.

Low Cost

At the heart of economy shipping lies its cost-effectiveness. For small businesses and e-commerce startups operating on tight budgets, shipping costs can significantly eat into profit margins. Opting for economy shipping services can be a game-changing solution that doesn’t compromise too heavily on quality or reliability.

Moreover, by cutting down on excessive shipping rates, businesses can pass on the savings to their customers, making products more attractive and competitively priced. For consumers, this translates to deals that are easier on the pocket without the apprehension of high shipping fees.

Relatively Quick

Contrary to what some might believe, economy shipping doesn't mean slow shipping. While it's not as speedy as express shipping, economy shipping's delivery speed is commendable. Packages dispatched under this method often find their way to the doorstep within a timeframe of one to five business days, depending on the shipping zone and courier service.

This balance between speed and cost makes it a preferred choice for those who wish for a timely delivery but aren't constrained by an urgent next-day requirement. In essence, it promises the best of both worlds: cost-effective shipping that doesn’t keep you or your customers waiting indefinitely.

Which Carriers Provide Economy Shipping?

Economy shipping has become an indispensable service in the realm of delivery and logistics. Recognizing the burgeoning demand from e-commerce businesses and individual consumers alike, major shipping companies globally offer economy shipping options tailored to varying needs. Here’s a breakdown of the big players in the industry and what they bring to the table with their economy shipping services.


FedEx, known for its comprehensive suite of delivery services, offers economy shipping for businesses eyeing international markets. Their FedEx International Economy service is perfect for less time-sensitive international shipments, providing cost-effective solutions without compromising on their quality and reliability.

On the domestic front, FedEx Ground provides a blend of timely delivery and affordability, striking a balance for businesses and consumers.


UPS is not far behind when it comes to offering value-packed shipping solutions. UPS Ground is a favorite among small businesses, providing a balanced transit time suitable for most domestic shipments. They also offer economy shipping options tailored for international deliveries, making cross-border trade more accessible and budget-friendly for e-commerce business owners.


USPS, the United States Postal Service, is often the go-to for many, thanks to its nationwide reach and competitive pricing. USPS Ground Advantage delivers parcels domestically within two to five business days. Their expansive network and commitment to serving every nook and cranny of the country make them a reliable choice for domestic economy shipments, especially for online businesses looking for a widespread reach without breaking the bank.


DHL's international prowess is well-known, and their economy shipping options further solidify their reputation. DHL Economy Select offers reliable international deliveries at reduced rates, making them a go-to for businesses expanding their global footprint. Their vast network and efficient tracking services ensure that even economy shipments receive the attention and care one would expect from a world-leading courier service.

The Bottom Line

Economy shipping has reshaped the landscape of deliveries, balancing cost-effectiveness with efficiency. Whether it's an e-commerce business seeking a competitive edge or an individual sending a gift, business owners have plenty of options from FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL.

But you might be looking for a more tailored solution. If so, Mochila can help you reach customers and have full visibility of your shipping and fulfillment. Contact us today to learn more.


How to Start an E-Commerce Business in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide | NerdWallet 

How to Be a Smarter Shopper Right Now | Consumer Reports 

17 Unconventional Money-Saving Tips For Small-Business Owners | Forbes 

7 Rules for Shipping Internationally | Entrepreneur 

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