Once you click the “BUY NOW” button, someone in China fulfills the order, then your package is delivered to a local port and is shipped overseas by air or sea to your local posting service who then deliver to the specific address.
This is a completely simplified version of the process and it happens millions of times each day, so to expect accurate shipping times every time might be a little unrealistic.
Is AliExpress’s “Estimated Delivery” Time Accurate?
Online shoppers have become accustomed to fast and reliable shipping (thanks largely to Amazon), which is one of the biggest downsides to using AliExpress. Each product you shop for will usually have multiple shipping carriers to choose from, but which do you choose and are their shipping times accurate?
AliExpress’ “Estimated Delivery” is exactly that, it’s an estimate, and whilst the majority of suppliers will have the products shipped within this time frame, it will vary between suppliers. You can request a refund if the delivery time exceeds the “on-time delivery guarantee” stated on the product page.
The majority of suppliers on AliExpress will have a 75-day buyer protection guarantee meaning you can request a full refund if the product is not delivered within the timeframe. So even if the supplier has an estimated delivery of 30 to 50 days, there is nothing you can do until the 75-day mark.
Whilst the shipping times are reasonably accurate, on the other hand, don’t rely on them either. If you need something for a special occasion or by a certain date, shop elsewhere.
There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of suppliers on AliExpress. Many of them are simply people from home acting as middlemen between you and the manufacturers. You are not their priority and they are likely dealing with an abundance of products, suppliers and customers, leaving opportunities for errors.
To reduce the chances of inaccurate shipping times it’s worth only buying from reputable suppliers. Check out their rating, how many products sold and how many years they’ve been in business. To find out more information, click on their company name to get a full profile.
Buying from an inexperienced AliExpress seller can result in inaccurate shipping times even if you choose a fast and reliable shipping method. This is because the processing times with some suppliers can vary and it may take days or weeks before your order is even shipped!
Often this is because they are waiting for more orders to come through to order a bulk quantity from a manufacturer themselves. Many suppliers claim they are shipping from the US but are actually shipping from China which you can read more about in my article here.
What Delays Can You Expect with AliExpress Shipping?
There are two main periods of the year in which you can expect much slower than usual shipping times; Q4 leading into Christmas and Chinese New Year. Sellers will often change the “Estimated Delivery” times to reflect these delays although it’s not unusual for inaccurate shipping estimates during these periods.
Sales ramp up during Q4 and suppliers, shipping carriers, manufacturers and domestic postal services are extremely busy and you can often expect lengthy delays during October, November and December.
The other period you can expect delayed shipping times is Chinese New Year. This is the largest holiday on China’s calendar and the entire country essentially stops. It may be the only time of year these factory workers get a break and get to see their families.
Chinese New Year starts anywhere between the end of January and mid-February (the start date of the celebration varies each year) and lasts for 15 days. Many factories may extend their break, therefore deliveries could be longer depending on the supplier you purchase from.
This means the parcel you ordered will stop in its tracks for at least two weeks. Take this into consideration if you’re ordering something around January. For more information on this subject, you will want to read my article; Why is AliExpress Shipping So Slow?
How Accurate is AliExpress Tracking?
It’s important to understand, AliExpress themselves are not responsible for tracking. AliExpress are simply a platform for buyers and sellers to do business. The accuracy of tracking will be up to each shipping carrier and how they manage their tracking system.
The accuracy of AliExpress tracking will depend on the shipping carrier you choose when placing an order. AliExpress’ default shipping carrier “Cainiao” is a budget shipping option that can offer accurate tracking information.
AliExpress’ shipping company Cainiao has several shipping methods to choose from which all differ in time although Cainiao does not offer tracking for every option. The company appears to have accurate tracking however, still receives an abundance of complaints.
Cainiao is one of the slowest shipping options, hence why customers are using the tracking information to see how long orders are sitting in warehouses not moving whilst waiting for packages to arrive. Often packages are sitting idle in warehouses for weeks causing many upset customers.
Which Shipping Method is the Most Reliable?
The most reliable shipping options with shipping times are the premium carriers such as, DHL, UPS and FedEx, although these companies are expensive. AliExpress Standard Shipping is the most reliable in terms of price, shipping times and tracking information.
In the past, ePacket was the go-to shipping option for buyers and dropshippers alike, however, ePacket has disappeared since the pandemic. AliExpress Standard Shipping has now taken over as the best value shipping option for AliExpress buyers.
It’s either offered at a low cost or for free and the shipping times are reasonable, accurate and consistent with tracking. In my opinion, if AliExpress Standard Shipping costs an extra few dollars more than Cainiao, it’s worth it!
For a complete guide to AliExpress shipping times I suggest you read this article.
Do AliExpress orders ever come early?
It’s common for AliExpress orders to arrive earlier than stated on the estimated delivery times. Suppliers often overestimate the shipping times to avoid customer complaints and poor feedback scores.
Why does shipping from AliExpress take so long?
Suppliers on AliExpress do not have access to the fastest shipping carriers such as YunExpress and 4PX as they are shipping single items and are not shipping high volumes of goods.
Is the AliExpress delivery date guaranteed?
No, all delivery dates are estimates and processing times will vary for each supplier. There all also delays caused by the shipping carrier which is out of the control of the AliExpress supplier.
As a whole, considering the sheer volume Chinese sellers are dealing with, AliExpress shipping is reasonably accurate. There are always delays that can and often do occur which is why it’s never smart to rely on AliExpress shipping in general.
Whether you are purchasing something for yourself or dropshipping to customers, it’s better to order products people want rather than products they need. Consumers are willing to wait for an item they want as opposed to something they need immediately or at a specific time.
As a drop shipper, one of the best ways to receive faster shipping is to work with an Aliexpress supplier that has access to special shipping lines such as 4PX and YunExpress. One of the best ways to do this is by using a VIP listing link which you can read more about in my article.