Why Green Monday Shipping May Be Too Late

Get your online shopping done ASAP

Key Takeaways

  • Green Monday falls on December 14 this year and is known as the last day to shop to get deals and discounts and receive shipping in time for December 25. 
  • Retail experts say that shipping estimates will vary across retailers this year because of the pandemic. 
  • To avoid shipping delays, get your holiday shopping done as soon as possible, especially if you plan to shop online.
Mature woman getting package from delivery person during pandemic
Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

The final major online shopping day of the year—also known as Green Monday—is quickly approaching, but retail experts warn shoppers should be prepared for more shipping delays this year due to the pandemic. 

Coined in 2007 by eBay, Green Monday is the second Monday in December, when many retailers offer final discounts and deals for last-minute shoppers. This year, Green Monday falls on December 14, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until that day to shop. 

"It’s unclear whether or not that will still be a 'last day' for some people since we’ll see some variance between retailers this year," Katherine Cullen, the senior director of industry and consumer insights at the National Retail Federation (NRF), told Lifewire in a phone interview. "What we are advising people to do is to shop early this year, particularly if you are shopping online."

How Is Green Monday Different This Year? 

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are much more popular and profitable than Green Monday, this last-minute retail holiday caters to shoppers looking for the final deals and discounts of the holiday shopping season. 

For the most part, Green Monday deals are in many of the same places as Black Friday or Cyber Monday bargains. Retailers like Target, Overstock.com, and Best Buy all plan on offering Green Monday discounts this year. 

Woman with Santa hat looking for presents online, using laptop.
Westend61 / Getty Images

However, experts like Cullen say that Green Monday's shopping deadline shouldn't be taken to heart by consumers to receive their gifts in time for the holiday deadlines. 

"A lot of retailers are advising customers to order by December 4," she said. 

In reality, retailers don’t control the shipping—shipping companies do. The deadlines for packages to make it in time for December 25 are December 15 for UPS and FedEx, and December 18 for First Class Mail with the United States Postal Service. 

NBC Today reported that Shipmatrix Inc. says that more than 86 million packages will be shipped each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is 18 million more a day than last year.

Increasing demands and unprecedented slowdowns have caused more people than ever to shop online for the holidays. Cullen said the NRF saw over 186 million consumers shopping online during the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend. 

"Online only shoppers increased by 44% this year," she said. "Also, the number of online shoppers for Black Friday surpassed 100 million for the first time, which of course is a result of the pandemic." 

What Should Last-Minute Shoppers Know? 

While retailers have been planning for an online-centric holiday shopping season for months now, the average consumer might not have been prepared.

"A few weeks before Thanksgiving, consumers were hoping to shop in-store since many partake in that holiday shopping tradition," Cullen said. "People realized it was safer and healthier to shop online, and the deals were the same in many cases, both online and in-store."

Embracing couple admiring window display while holiday shopping on winter evening.
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

If you're the type of person who waits until the last minute to shop for the holidays, Cullen says the time for action is now.  

"Do your research and look at what the retailers you are interested in buying from are saying about their shipping deadlines," she said. "We’ve seen that retailers are very upfront about shipping." 

And if you end up procrastinating beyond the point of making the online shopping shipping deadlines, Cullen said there are other pandemic-friendly options, like "express shopping" or contactless pickup. 

"If you are up against some last-minute deadlines, look at buy online, pickup in-store shopping, or curbside pickup," she said. "Shipping isn’t your only option."

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