U.S. retailers and other delivery customers for the first time in more than four years are easily winning discounts from United Parcel Service and FedEx, according to industry data and interviews with seven professionals who advise shippers in price negotiations.
That’s a sharp reversal from 2021 and the first half of 2022, when UPS (UPS.N) and FedEx (FDX.N) – awash with volume from the early pandemic’s online shopping surge – rebuffed discount requests and cherry-picked the most profitable customers. Now, those same companies are fighting to fill trucks as demand shrinks.
Excluding the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and Amazon.com <AMZN.O>, UPS and FedEx dominate the U.S. doorstep delivery sector with a share of almost 50% and combined annual revenue of $191 billion. They have pushed through annual general rate increases of more than 30% from 2019 to 2024, and are often nearly lock step on pricing.
“They have to fight for every package right now, it’s great for shippers,” said LJM Consultants partner Kenneth Moyer, a former UPS pricing negotiator who now works with delivery customers.
That’s because soft demand created an environment that is “very juicy” with opportunities for customers to squeeze out savings, said Deyman Doolittle, co-founder of data-driven consulting firm ShipSigma, which helps them cut shipping costs.