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In today's post, we are going to do an in-depth review of all the shipping methods you can find on AliExpress, our favorite Chinese shopping platform.
We will compare them all and give you our opinion on which one is the best shipping method for each situation.
At the end of the article, we will try to resolve the most common doubts about shipping on AliExpress.
What shipping methods can you find on AliExpress?
There are three types of shipping that you should start familiarizing yourself with now:
- Ordinary shipments.
- Certified shipments.
- Shipments through private courier.
This type of shipment is very cheap and is generally used for items under $5.
Ordinary shipments don't have tracking once they leave China, so it is a disadvantage not to be able to control them or know exactly when the letter carrier will deliver them.
It's not necessary that you sign for an ordinary shipment to be delivered, the most normal thing is that the courier leaves it directly in the mailbox. That is if it fits in your mailbox; if it doesn't, they will leave a notice for you to pick it up at your local post office.
The tracking number of an ordinary shipment consists of a series of numbers (without letters).
Certified shipments do have tracking at all times. This is very practical to know when the package is going to arrive and to be aware of it.
In addition, you will need you or someone who is at home to sign for it.
It's common in orders over $5, but you can also find it in cheap items (the offer will depend on the seller and their shipping methods).
Although many people believe it, certified shipments do not necessarily have to be faster than ordinary ones. This will depend on the shipping method. But we will see some examples of this later on.
Shipments through private courier
These shipments are not usually free (they are actually kind of expensive) and are made by private companies such as UPS, EMS, DHL or AliExpress itself with its AliExpress Premium Shipping.
Until now we did not recommend this type of shipping, since shipments with private couriers were always stopped at customs to claim taxes and duties.
But since July 1, 2021, this inconvenience disappears because AliExpress charges VAT on products under €150 and there is no longer any risk of your package being stopped by customs.
The disadvantage of these shipments is that they usually have a high price. It's not normal to find them for free unless it's a very expensive item.
In short, it's only a good option if you are in a hurry to receive your purchase and it is the fastest shipping method offered by the seller.
What is the best AliExpress shipping method?
Let's compare in the following table the shipping methods offered by AliExpress, according to the courier company that manages the shipment:
|AliExpress Standard Shipping
|Very fast certified shipping, not usually delayed, and is one of the most common on AliExpress.
|AliExpress Saver Shipping
|30 days (15-20 days if the order is combined)
|Regular shipping but with tracking, generally quite fast (usually arrives well before the estimated date).
|AliExpress Premium Shipping
|Shipping by private courier, for a fee. Delivery by any private courier that AliExpress has an agreement with (DHL, FedEx, EMS,…).
|Cainiao Standard for Special Goods
|Certified shipping is usually paid separately and is used for medium-high value orders.
|Cainiao Super Economy for Special Goods
|Ordinary shipping, it's usually fast and used for low-value orders.
|Cainiao Super Economy Global
|30-60 days (if combined, 30 days)
|Ordinary shipping, it's usually fast and used for low-value orders.
|Cainiao Warehouse Standard Shipping
|3 days if it's in stock in your country
7 days if in any other European warehouse
|Fast shipping (if you are in Europe) from warehouses that AliExpress has in several European countries.
|Cainiao Expedited Economy
|30-50 days (if the order is combined, 15-20 days)
|Similar to Super Economy but allows orders to be combined, so the order gains priority and arrives sooner.
|China Post Air Parcel
|Certified shipping, although it is not used much anymore and is not the fastest.
|Certified shipping, usually fast (if you are in Europe), from AliExpress warehouses in Turkey.
|Seller's Shipping Method
|Depends on the courier company chosen by the seller
|Ordinary shipping, the courier company is chosen by the seller and is not usually very fast.
|Certified shipment by private courier, fast but costs a bit more money.
|Certified shipment by private courier, fast but costs a bit more money.
|Certified shipping by private courier, not one of the fastest of its kind.
AliExpress Standard Shipping
Main article: AliExpress Saver Shipping vs Standard Shipping
This type of certified shipping is managed directly by AliExpress thanks to its agreement with different courier companies in China and in your country.
This way you get 30% faster shipments, so it's a great option and, as you may have seen, most sellers offer it among their shipments.
It's normally used for orders over $5 and its estimated delivery time is 15-20 days.
With AliExpress Standard Shipping you will be able to track your order at all times, so you will be aware of when it will arrive.
AliExpress Saver Shipping
AliExpress Saver Shipping is also managed by AliExpress and, despite being an ordinary shipping, you will be able to track your order when it arrives in your country.
It is generally used for low-cost items (less than $5) and has the particularity of offering combined delivery (if the product is marked with “Combined delivery offered by AliExpress”).
With combined delivery, you can group several orders into one order as long as they exceed $5. In addition, your shipment will become preferential and its delivery time will be reduced from the initial 30 days to 15-20 days.
If you want to know more about AliExpress combined delivery you can read this post.
AliExpress Premium Shipping
Main article: AliExpress Premium Shipping
This is the last of the three shipments managed directly by AliExpress.
It's certified shipping, but it's done through different private courier companies that AliExpress has an agreement with (DHL, FedEx, UPS…).
It has an estimated delivery of 39 days, so surely you can find a better option.
Cainiao Standard for Special Goods
Main article: Cainiao Standard for Special Goods
This certified shipping is handled by Cainiao Global (owned by Alibaba Group), so it's trackable.
With an estimated delivery of 43-68 days (it is usually much less than that), it's one of the big competitors of the AliExpress Standard Shipping and is also very popular among AliExpress shippers.
Cainiao Super Economy for Special Goods
Ordinary shipment managed by Cainiao. When the order arrives in your country, you can no longer know where it is going or when it will arrive.
It's a very popular shipping method for low-value orders and usually, you will get it for free or for little money.
Their estimated delivery time is 30-50 days, so don't expect it to get to your home too quickly.
Cainiao Super Economy Global
Very cheap ordinary shipping (for less than $5), you also have the combined delivery option offered by AliExpress.
It's a very slow shipping method (especially in Latin America), so if you are in a hurry and you are not going to use the combined delivery, better choose another option.
Cainiao Warehouse Standard Shipping
Main article: Cainiao Warehouse Standard Shipping
Cainiao Warehouse Standard Shipping is used for items that are shipped from the warehouses that AliExpress has enabled in some countries of the European Union.
It's certified shipping that works very well and with which you can forget about customs issues as you are already within the EU.
Note that if the shipment is from your country, you will receive it within a maximum of 3 days and if it is from another EU country, in 7 days.
Sounds great, doesn't it?
Cainiao Expedited Economy
Cainiao Expedited Economy is an ordinary shipment very similar to Cainiao Super Economy for Special Goods and is also used for low-value orders.
The main difference is that Cainiao Expedited Economy does have combined delivery, which reduces the delivery time from 30-50 days to 15-20 days.
It's worth choosing it if you get the package for free and are not in a hurry to receive it.
China Post Air Parcel
China Post shipping used to be very popular on AliExpress, although it has now been replaced by newer ones (such as AliExpress and Cainiao).
Even so, China Post Air Parcel is still quite common to find among the shipping options.
It's certified shipping that allows you to track your purchase through the AliExpress website and app.
The estimated delivery time is 52 days which makes it a slow certified shipment.
For items shipped from AliExpress warehouses in Turkey, with an estimated delivery time of 7-30 days.
It's certified shipping that works very well in Europe (it is very fast), but is not so well known in Latin American countries (Chile, Mexico, Peru,…).
Seller's Shipping Method
This is one of the most unusual shipments of AliExpress since it is not a shipping method.
In this case, the seller will choose the shipping method he wants, but keep in mind that it will always be an ordinary shipment without tracking (until they send you the item, you will not know with which company the seller sent it).
The advantage is that it's usually free.
Certified shipping by private courier with estimated delivery of 24 days.
It works well in most countries, but you should know that it will cost you money. If you have other options like AliExpress Standard Shipping, do not hesitate to choose those instead.
Another of the most popular private courier companies on AliExpress. Their shipping is certified with tracking and the estimated delivery time is 21 days.
Shipping by private courier with an estimated delivery date of 45 days. Although this may seem like a long time, it usually arrives much sooner.
Our opinion on which one to choose
If you are lucky enough to have your item in any of the warehouses that AliExpress has in the European Union, Cainiao Warehouse Standard Shipping will undoubtedly be the best choice: you will avoid going through customs, and in a few days, you will have your order at home.
However, for items coming directly from China, it is complicated to recommend a single shipping method. The decision often depends on the value of the item that you buy.
Therefore, let's look at the best method of certified and ordinary shipping.
Best certified shipment
For a medium-high value item, don't even think about it, stick with the usual AliExpress shipping method, the AliExpress Standard Shipping.
It's the most popular shipping method and is used by almost all sellers on the Chinese platform.
In our experience, it works great, besides being very fast (usually doesn't take longer than two weeks). It's preferable to shipments by private courier and, on top of that, you will most likely get it for free.
Best ordinary shipment
For orders of small value (less than $5) you will have to opt for a regular shipping method, so we definitely choose AliExpress Saver Shipping: a fast shipping (nearly as good as AliExpress Standard Shipping) and that despite being ordinary, we can track at all times.
Does AliExpress ship to your house or post office?
Main article: Where do AliExpress orders arrive?
Your order will always arrive at the delivery address you have on AliExpress (your home or any other address you want), which means that AliExpress delivers to your door.
Forget putting the address of the post office in your city so that the order arrives directly there (you run the risk that the package will be returned to the seller).
What if I'm not at home?
For certified shipments
It depends on the country, but usually, if on the first delivery attempt the letter carrier does not find anyone at home, he will try again a second time the next working day.
Remember that you cannot go to the post office to pick up your package when you see in the order status ‘arrival at the delivery office', because they will not give it to you.
You will always have to wait for the letter carrier to make two delivery attempts before you can pick it up at your local post office.
To pick up the package, do not forget the notice that the letter carrier will leave you or have the tracking number of the package at hand.
For ordinary shipments
If it's a small package and it fits in the mailbox, the letter carrier will leave it there. If it doesn't fit, he will also leave a notice for you to pick it up.
For premium shipments
For shipments by private courier, the letter carrier will call you on your phone at the first attempt to arrange a new delivery or give you the possibility to go directly to the office to pick it up.
This option is available for orders under 22€, with shipping through AliExpress Standard Shipping.
These pick-up points are starting to be available in Spain and Russia, alongside Cainiao lockers. Usually, in these cases, the message “Item available at pickup point” appears.
Please note that you can only use it when buying items from a single seller. If you try to checkout a basket with orders from different sellers, you will not be able to use this option.
Choosing your delivery point is very easy: when you checkout you just have to choose the location you want and click on checkout. If you have a saved address, AliExpress will suggest you the nearest delivery points.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to reduce the shipping cost?
Main article: How to get free shipping on AliExpress
The eternal question: is it possible to lower the shipping cost on AliExpress?
The answer is that it depends on how many items you buy from the seller and their goodwill.
Trick to pay less for shipping
A trick to put pressure on the seller is to add to the cart everything you want to buy (always from the same seller) and when it's time to pay, change the payment method to one that you never use (for example Webmoney).
Confirm and click on “Pay now”. Then exit the web or app (close the web or app window completely and login again).
Now, your orders will show as “pending payment” and the seller will have received a purchase order that has not been finalized.
Write to the seller and tell them that you plan to buy, but that you want them to reduce the shipping price. Normally, in order not to lose the sale, they will lower the price.
Once the shipping price has been lowered, all you have to do is go to pay for the order. Remember this time to change your payment method to the one you normally use.
If the seller doesn't want to lower the price, don't do anything. The order will be automatically canceled in a few days.
What is AliExpress' 10-day delivery?
Main article: AliExpress 10-day delivery
One of the latest developments in AliExpress is an agreement with the courier Cainiao that will allow you to receive your order in just 10 days. This shipping takes 10 business days, which means that in just over a week (without taking into account the preparation time of the order) we will receive our order.
However, you should keep in mind that not all sellers offer this express shipping by default, which means that if you don't select the 10 days Express Shipping when adding the product to the cart, it will take you longer to receive the order.