A popular dropshipping FAQ we often hear at Oberlo is “How can I sell products from AliExpress if shipping takes two or three weeks (or longer)?” I decided to run my own investigation and lay out all the facts for you to find out how long shipping really takes. I ordered several popular items with various shipping times to find out once and for all how slow the shipping times really are for different shipping providers. This AliExpress Standard shipping guide will walk you through all the AliExpress shipping methods and their speeds.
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- Where Does AliExpress Ship From?
- How Long Does AliExpress Take to Deliver?
- Which AliExpress Shipping Method is Best?
- What Packaging Do AliExpress Products Come In?
- Is AliExpress Standard Shipping Worth the Wait?
- Why AliExpress Standard Shipping is Good for Business
Where Does AliExpress Ship From?
When it comes to AliExpress shipping, most sellers are based in China. AliExpress doesn’t necessarily disclose where it ships from on your shipment information. Tracking details typically refer to it as “Country of origin.”
However, if you take a look at the shipping method and it includes China Post, it’s safe to assume that the seller’s shipping location is in China. However, there is a Non-Chinese Seller Registration available on AliExpress so not all suppliers are based in China.
How Long Does AliExpress Take to Deliver?
For this case study, we experimented with a mix of AliExpress free shipping and AliExpress premium shipping. We tried the following AliExpress shipping methods:
- AliExpress Standard Shipping
- SunYou Economic Air Mail
These are the products that were ordered:
AliExpress Standard Shipping
AliExpress Standard Shipping is an affordable shipping method. It’s usually one of the cheapest. In some cases it can be a free shipping option on AliExpress.
The Buddha figurines, one of the products ordered, were delivered via AliExpress Standard Shipping. They arrived in 26 days which beat the maximum time listed on their product page as you can see here, by four days. In this specific case, the AliExpress Standard Shipping was changed to ePacket, another shipping method. Cost: FREE
The heart necklace was also delivered with AliExpress Standard Shipping. The product arrived in 16 days. The estimated AliExpress delivery time listed on as per the product page as you can see here was 15-30 days. Cost: $4.05
AliExpress Standard Shipping was the seller’s shipping method for the fake lashes ordered. It was delivered in only 13 days. The estimated AliExpress delivery time was 15-30 days, which means. iIt beat the earliest estimate by two days, as per the product page. Cost: $4.63
AliExpress Standard Shipping is the shipping method of choice for the bowtie shoes. They wereIt was delivered in 22 days. The AliExpress delivery time range for the product was 15-30 days proving that it was delivered within that range. Cost: FREE
ePacket delivery is the most popular AliExpress shipping method. It boasts one of the most affordable AliExpress shipping costs and reaches customers faster than traditional shipping methods of the same price range. Depending on the product, ePacket shipping costs can sometimes be free, saving you, the entrepreneur, and of course your customers, a few extra dollars. And let’s face it: AliExpress free shipping can help you make a bigger profit.
ePacket shipping was used for the women’s watch. The watch was delivered in 18 days. The AliExpress delivery time listed was estimated for 16-28 days. Cost: $4.00
The bracelet set was also shipped by ePacket. It was delivered in 15 days. According to the product page, that’s one day earlier than it’s minimum guideline of 16-26 days. Cost: $2.94
SunYou Economic Air Mail
The calendar keychain was shipped with SunYou Economic Air Mail. It was delivered in only 10 days. The estimated range for AliExpress free shipping was between 30-50 days. This was one of the fastest delivery times during this study. Cost: FREE
The stickers were ordered with China Post but were ultimately shipped with SunYou Economic Air Mail. They were delivered in 10 days with an estimated delivery time of 39-60 days. Cost: FREE
FedEx is one of the AliExpress premium shipping methods customers can choose from. As one of the biggest shippers, you can expect one of the shortest ecommerce shipping times. Unfortunately, it also comes at one of the highest costs. There are times when choosing FedEx can be a good decision, and we’ll break that down later in this article.
The beads stone bracelet was shipped via FedEx. It hard the fastest delivery time –of only three days. The estimated delivery time on the website was between 7-15 days. Cost: $23.84
Which AliExpress Shipping Method is Best?
The best shipping method will depend on the purpose of the order. If you’re shipping to yourself to do a quick quality assurance test or ordering a sample, you might order via FedEex to get your products quickly. However, if you’re shipping to customers your best options are AliExpress Standard Shipping and ePacket, which consistently met or beat the estimated shipping times. SunYou may be another good alternative, but the estimated delivery times are a bit lengthy and while the products were delivered super fast, the sample size was too small to be conclusive.
What Packaging Do AliExpress Products Come In?
Despite using various AliExpress shipping companies, all packages came in a similar durable plastic packaging. Of the 11 packages ordered, only one came in a yellow envelope. Reputable shipping companies like FedEx and UPS had their brand name on the packaging. However, smaller shipping methods like ePacket, AliExpress Standard Shipping, and China Post tend to ship in discreet, unbranded packaging.
When the first layer of packaging was opened, in all but one case was there a second layer of packaging protecting or covering the product. In cases of a fragile product such as a figurine, watch, or even a pair of shoes bubble wrap or foam was used. This helps protect the product from damage during shipping. The other products were wrapped in a plastic bag or envelope.
After unwrapping the final packaging from the AliExpress shipments, you can see the products actually looked like. And for the most part, they matched the photos on AliExpress. The product appearance looked great. There was a slight issue with the stickers as they had some licensed photos in their mix. And the You Are My SunShine t-shirt had some awkward holes in the design that made it difficult to tell if it was intentional or not. But overall, the products received were in excellent condition.
Here are a few up-close pictures that I took so you can see for yourself how they arrived:
These are the small Buddha figurines. They look exactly the same as the photo. I actually ordered these with separate shipping details as I made four separate orders but they all arrived in the same package which is likely what a customer would prefer anyways.
This is the photo from the actual product page:
These shoes came with a little bit of foam inside the bow to give it a bit of volume so they didn’t ship flat. The picture doesn’t show it but there is a bit of space between both sides of them bow so that it looks more voluminous.
This is the picture I took of the purse. It was a bit bigger than I expected but that’s a good thing. The inside of the purse had a striped pattern design which nicely complemented the outer purse.
The navy t-shirt below is actually a men’s XXL shirt. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit my husband who wears large so it’s a bit too small. We had heard that clothing from China is smaller than American sizes so we ordered a few sizes up. Sadly, it still wasn’t the right size. But luckily, it’s a bit loose on me.
Is AliExpress Standard Shipping Worth the Wait?
AliExpress shipping is worth the wait. Here’s a few reasons why:
1. It offers the best pricing
The best product prices aren’t on Amazon, they’re usually on AliExpress. Since the products are made in China and most AliExpress suppliers are Chinese, it makes sense that they’d offer the best prices on the most popular ecommerce platform in their country. Entrepreneurs are then able to offer affordable prices to their customers who are looking for a great deal. By offering affordable pricing, customers may be more likely to patiently wait for the product. All you need to do is set realistic expectations for them. You can include AliExpress shipping times on your product page or on your ad to help set the right expectations for your customer.
2. Most online stores don’t offer express shipping
Most entrepreneurs worry about Amazon’s two-day shipping. But there are millions of online stores in the world that are popular that don’t offer anywhere near to two-day shipping. Some reputable brands with hundreds of thousands of followers ship products in two to three weeks such as Wish. Shipping can be really expensive. Don’t compare your brand new business with Amazon. Amazon’s literally been around for over 25 years! You can’t compete. At least not directly. Focus on promoting the right product to the right customer at the right time. And build a long-term relationship with them.
3. Customers want the product
The reason why a customer decided to purchase from you instead of Amazon is likely because they saw the product on your website first. They thought to themselves, “I want that.” And then they made the purchase. When you want something bad enough, you’re willing to wait for it. Great products come to those who wait.
4. Customers prefer free shipping
Some customers may be willing to pay for shipping. That’s true. But most customers will abandon their cart if free shipping isn’t an option. And since shipping typically has a cost associated with it, you’ll need to absorb those costs into your product. Customers know that free shipping is usually the slowest shipping method. So AliExpress free shipping is worth the wait.
Why AliExpress Standard Shipping is Good for Business
Yup, AliExpress standard shipping is good for business. It ultimately boils down to the most important part of running a business: money. When you pay for AliExpress premium shipping to compete with Amazon, it eats into your margins, making you earn less money or even lose money. However, when you offer AliExpress free shipping, you can slightly increase your product price to absorb the shipping costs while pricing your product at retail value. AliExpress shipping is good for building a long-term business. When you compare it to other types of dropshipping such as print on demand, the shipping costs combined with the product costs are so high that your margins are smaller. It often forces you to price above retail value which means you might get fewer sales.
Whether you use AliExpress Standard shipping or ePacket as your shipping method is up to you. Ultimately, shipping with AliExpress allows you to run a profitable business over the long-term as the shipping costs don’t eat away at your margins. As you can see from some of the pictures above, the product quality tends to be similar to what you’d find at your local stores. If you order personalized or custom products, suppliers accurately provide the right information. The best way to know about the product quality and shipping times is to test it out for yourself. And on average, you’ll find that suppliers meet or beat their estimated timelines listed on their product page.
Want to Learn More?
- What is ePacket?
- I Ordered Product Samples. This Is What I Got.
- 10 Dropshipping Myths That Need to be Debunked
- 7 Headache Preventing Tips for International Shipping