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10 Shipping Facts You Need to Know

By Last updated on: June 22, 2023

Let’s face it… without shipping, the world economy would be a much different place. Thanks to shipping, however, small and large businesses can connect with suppliers and consumers faster than ever. Here are ten interesting shipping facts.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Parcel delivery has come a long way since the days of horseback delivery. It now consists of a complex network of carriers that include UPS, FedEx, DHL, and more. In addition to countless supporting companies that help manage and audit the various details that makeup today’s modern shipping industry. To help explore what you may not know about shipping – both past and present – consider the ten facts below.

1: UPS started in 1907 when nineteen-year-old James Casey founded what was first called “American Messenger Company.”

The company was later known as “Merchants Parcel Delivery.” But in 1919, the company adopted its name – United Parcel Service.

2: The color brown has a rich history regarding shipping.

10 Shipping Facts from Refund Retriever

Around the same time, UPS had graduated to delivering parcels by truck rather than bike. Casey considered using yellow as their signature truck color. However, one of his business partners advised him that brown trucks would not show dirt as easily. Hence, brown became UPS’s signature color and still resonates with the shipping industry today. A shipping fact that Casey would appreciate now.

3: The corrugated cardboard box is the most used packaging for e-commerce deliveries.

It is the most significant manufactured product in the U.S. waste stream by weight – producing nearly 30 million tons annually.

4: Free shipping (80%) and fast shipping (54%) are top incentives for consumers’ online purchases.

Reinforcing the value of speed when it comes to shipping, 13 percent of consumers have ordered something for same-day delivery in 2017. This percentage was up from 9 percent in 2016.

5: Most customers check shipping speed to ensure timely delivery.

A recent study from Astound Commerce identified that 66 percent of customers always check for accuracy in their scheduled deliveries. This is a good reminder for companies to incorporate parcel auditing into their shipping strategies. Parcel auditing helps monitor whether deliveries are in fact delivered on time or if disputable fees have been applied.

6: The average annual shipping rate increase for UPS and FedEx is 4.9%.

On average, the annual rate increase is between 5.5 percent to 4.4 percent, with 4.9% being average. The shipping rates of lighter packages being more expensive than heavier packages. Accessorial fees also increase each year, a shipping fact that will cost your company more each year.

7: Over 80 million customers subscribe to Amazon Prime. Shipping fact that will rise each year!

Forbes reports that a company’s ability to offer customers a Prime-like level of “inventory management and agility” will determine which retailers succeed. In addition, shipping preferences are among the top priorities for consumers when buying online.

8: UPS and FedEx deliver 65% of all commercial packages.

Meanwhile, merchants are introducing drop-shipping into their e-commerce strategies more and more. It was estimated 75 percent of online retailers are likely to use drop-shipping by 2020.

9: 39% of parcels shipped in the United States travel more than 350 miles.

This is a substantial variable for businesses to consider when they are looking to manage their shipping strategies – particularly since carriers may charge unexpected surcharges or fees based on the location of delivery, arrival day of delivery, and more. For a more comprehensive overview of these variables, click here.

10: Shipping costs and inconvenience of returns are the top reasons for customer dissatisfaction regarding buying online.

In this same survey, however, convenience is why customers prefer e-commerce to in-store shopping. Proving that despite inconveniences, shipping is still worth their shopping logistics.

Finally, as shipping evolves and consumer expectations change, it’s clear the importance of having a strong shipping strategy in place. Hopefully, these shipping facts help illustrate this. Of course, shipping times and prices are key factors for businesses to consider when creating shipping plans. But businesses can’t do this alone. Using insight – including the facts identified above – and data collected uniquely for your business from shipping experts such as Refund Retriever.

Brian Gibbs

Author Brian Gibbs

More posts by Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay-based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever's primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, e-commerce, and more. Learn more at or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.

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