Why is AliExpress Shipping So Slow?


Affiliate Links
Dropshippinghustle.com posts contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. These commissions enable me to continue writing free content for my readers. Get my full disclosure here.

AliExpress has millions of unique products that you’ve likely never purchased or even seen at your local shopping center or even Amazon for that matter. Add to that most of their prices are really low, however, there is one big problem which deters many shoppers, the SHIPPING TIMES!

AliExpress shipping times to most countries are reasonably long if you’re shipping from China. If you need an outfit for an upcoming event or a gift for a special occasion, it may be best to avoid AliExpress’s longer shipping methods. It’s not unusual to wait 2 to 3 months or even longer with many of the slower shipping options.

Why Does Shipping From AliExpress Take So long?

Just because the majority of AliExpress products are located and shipped from China is not the only reason why AliExpress’s shipping times are slow. There are fast and efficient shipping carriers in China so why does AliExpress shipping take so long?

Most AliExpress suppliers do not operate in large volumes and therefore do not have access to the fastest shipping lines. Instead, they often use budget shipping carriers as well as lengthy processing times resulting in long shipping times.

The main thing you need to be aware of is many of the suppliers on AliExpress are simply people working from home acting as a middleman between AliExpress shoppers and suppliers or manufacturers. They are not big companies with warehouses full of stock ready to be shipped off once you make an order.

Most of the larger companies and manufacturers can be found on Alibaba selling inventory in large quantities. It’s not worth these companies time to be shipping individual products to consumers.

Why are Processing Times So Slow?

The processing times for each supplier will vary depending on several factors. In my experience, the suppliers who have been in business the longest generally have faster shipping times due to the fact that they have better connections and have learned how to streamline their business.

There are several steps to process an item which all take time:

  • Source which supplier they’ll purchase the item from based on price and stock levels
  • The product is picked from the warehouse
  • The product is packaged with marketing materials. This will vary depending on the type of package required.
  • Shipping labels added to the product
  • Waits for the shipping carrier to pick the product up

Another point worth noting is many suppliers will purchase a bulk order of specific products to get the product at reduced prices. The problem is that they make these bulk purchases once they have received a certain level of sales.

So you may purchase a product from them but then you’ll have to wait until they reach their quota of sales before they make a purchase from their supplier/manufacturer. This basically means you’re having to wait longer for your product to be shipped so they can receive a better price on their product. Great deal for them!

Related Reading: What is an Aliexpress VIP listing link & how to use it!

Which AliExpress Shipping Carriers are the Slowest?

As you can probably tell, there is an abundance of shipping carriers and they vary dramatically in terms of prices and times. But when it comes to the slowest and most budget-friendly then Cianiao is generally the slowest.

Cainiao uses several shipping methods including:

  • Cainiao Super Economy Global
  • Cainiao Super Economy
  • Cainiao Super Economy for Special Goods
  • Cainiao Standard for Special Goods
  • Cainiao Expedited Standard

Out of these options, Cainiao Expedited is your best choice as they offer reasonable shipping times and tracking. On average this option will take between 20 to 40 days for shipping.

The slowest out of these methods is Cainiao Super Economy Global. This is the method you choose if you would want a snail to deliver your packages. Depending on where the package is being delivered and the time of year, you may be waiting for between 45 to 90 days or longer.

Suggested Reading: Does AliExpress really Ship from the US, UK and Europe?

Which AliExpress Shipping Carrier is the Best Value?

We know as a whole the shipping times with AliExpress is slow, but which is the best value in terms of the best combination of prices and shipping times?

The go-to shipping option for shoppers and dropshippers over the past 5 years or so has been ePacket. It has the best balance of price and shipping times, however, as of writing this ePacket is not available in most countries. I will update this article when ePacket becomes available again.

AliExpress standard shipping is considered to be the next best option. The prices are usually low and the shipping times are reasonable, but still not great!

AliExpress Standard shipping times vary depending on the supplier, the country and the time of year. Often you’ll be looking at 20 to 40 days for shipping and many suppliers will give you free shipping.

What is “Seller’s shipping method”? Often when choosing your preferred shipping option you’ll come across a choice of “seller’s shipping method“. This is simply an alternative shipping option that the seller has access to that is not a usual option with AliExpress.

Most of the time this is another budget option with slow shipping time as the seller wants the cheapest possible shipping carrier. However, some suppliers will have access to some premium shipping lines such as Yun Express which is one of the best value shipping lines. So if you see “sellers shipping method” with fast shipping times it may be a great choice.

For more info on AliExpress shipping, I have an article on Is AliExpress Estimated Delivery Accurate.

Which Time of Year is the Slowest for AliExpress Shipping?

There are 2 main times of the year when you’ll face some delays and some long shipping times. These times are Q4 leading up to Christmas and Chinese new year.

Chinese new year is China’s biggest holiday period by a long way and not only is the shipping slow, but logistics in China comes to a complete standstill.

The Chinese new year starts anywhere from late January until mid-February (It will differ every year). It runs for 15 days however some factories could possibly remain shut for up to 40 days. This is an important holiday for China as this is often the only time of year factory workers can spend time with their families.

This means if you’re a dropshipper you’ll need to manage your inventory carefully and be transparent about your shipping times for your customers.

From around mid September until December you can expect slower than usual shipping times and often higher prices. If you’re a shopper you’ll need to use a faster shipping option if you want to receive products before Christmas. As a dropshipper you’ll need to communicate with your supplier as Q4 can often cause inventory issues and delays.

How to Reduce AliExpress’s Shipping Times?

The next most obvious question is how can you speed up AliExpress’s shipping times?

First of all, if you’re a shopper you can do a few things to speed up AliExpress’s shipping times.

  • Only use shipping carriers who provide reasonable shipping times.
  • Only buy from suppliers who have at least 3 years of experience.
  • Use the filter option to only buy products from domestic warehouses. (Many suppliers will lie about having products in warehouses around the world).
  • Don’t make purchases over Christmas time and Chinese New Year.

As a dropshipper you can apply the tips above but you also have a few other tactics you can use:

  • Get a VIP listing to fast track the processing times.
  • Use a Chinese dropship agent who has access to faster shipping lines.
  • Consider using Alibaba and purchasing in bulk and shipping your products from a domestic fulfillment center.
  • Use an AliExpress alternative that has the same products but with faster shipping. Some great options are CJ Dropshipping, Zendrop or Salehoo Dropship.

For more info, check out my article 7 Ways to Dropship with Fast Shipping!

Are AliExpress’s Slow Shipping Times a Problem?

If you’re buying a product for yourself from AliExpress and it’s not urgent, then you will have to deal with the long shipping times. We have become so spoilt when it comes to online purchases thanks largely to Amazon. It’s not a huge deal! Check out my article on the problems with AliExpress dropshipping.

On the other hand, if you need a product within a timeframe for a special occasion then the slow shipping times are a problem. The majority of people are aware of this and use AliExpress to buy useful and practical products that often solve a problem. Not many people plan for birthday gifts 3 months in advance and start birthday shopping.

People often wonder why consumers are happy to purchase from dropshipping stores when they have to wait for the long shipping. The reason is simple, they sell unique products the consumer hasn’t seen before.

A customer won’t purchase a regular everyday lamp from a dropshipping store and wait 5 weeks for it. But if they see a unique lamp they’ve never seen before, especially if it is designed similarly to a specific interest they have, they will be far more likely to wait for it.

Always be transparent about shipping times. Many dropshippers will try to hide the shipping times because they believe it will deter customers from making a purchase. It’s true it may deter some customers from making a purchase, however, it may also:

  • Deter other customers for not displaying their shipping times
  • Increase customer complaints
  • Reduce repeat purchases
  • Provide bad reviews
  • Increase the chances of chargebacks occurring


It’s official, AliExpress has long shipping times! The good news is it’s not the end of the world, it just seems that way because thanks to Amazon, we’ve become accustomed to fast and efficient shipping.

Here are a few key takeaways from this article:

  • AliExpress’s shipping is slow due to long processing times and suppliers only having access to budget shipping carriers.
  • AliExpress standard shipping is the current best option whilst ePacket is on hiatus.
  • Cainiao is generally the slowest shipping option with the exception of Cainiao Expedited Standard.
  • Don’t rely on AliExpress shipping for special occasions, birthdays etc (Unless you don’t like the person)
  • Christmas and Chinese New Year are the slowest times of year for shipping.
  • There are a few things you can do to speed up the shipping times. (Check above)
  • As a dropshipper, long shipping times matter less if you’re selling unique products.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts

  • Why I Choose Shopify for Dropshipping! (I Tried Alternatives)

    Why I Choose Shopify for Dropshipping! (I Tried Alternatives)

    When it comes to recommended platforms to start a dropshipping business, I typically only hear one recommendation in 2024, Shopify. Every website and every YouTube video talking about dropshipping will tell you to open a Shopify store. Does that mean Shopify is without a doubt the best choice for dropshipping? Not necessarily! The problem is…

    Read more

  • eCommerce Paradise Review (2024) – Pros & Cons!

    eCommerce Paradise Review (2024) – Pros & Cons!

    I’ve been critical of some high ticket dropshipping courses, from my experience, they over-promise and under-deliver. Because of my other reviews, I regularly receive emails asking my opinion on other courses, including eCommerce Paradise. I then reached out to Trevor Fenney, the creator of this course and asked for access so I could write a…

    Read more

  • 12 Pet Shopify Store Examples that Nail It!

    12 Pet Shopify Store Examples that Nail It!

    If you’re looking for a list of the best pet Shopify store examples, you’ve come to the right place. Below I’ve listed a few Shopify pet stores that are doing things right, you can use these stores for inspiration when creating your own store. Implement aspects of these and other successful shops to help create…

    Read more