The delivery times from China are very unpredictable.
Sometimes parcels arrive in only a week and sometimes you need to wait for 50 days!
Why is this delivery time so unclear?
Did you know that:
The delivery time is calculated as the sum of the processing time and the transmit time.
Note that the shipping time is just a part of the transmit time. So, although a company can promise fast shipping, there are still reasons why the delivery can take much longer. Let’s dig into it!
What is this Processing Time?
The processing time is the time that a company needs to get your order ready for transport. If the product is in stock, the processing time can be within 24 hours. But if it is not, the processing time can be a few days—or even up to a few weeks.
For example, at Lightinthebox, custom-made products like wedding dresses have a processing time of 10-14 days. LED lights and wall art have a processing time of 3-15 days.
The processing time depends on various factors.
1 Your payment must be approved by your bank
Some banks need time to confirm your payment, especially with credit cards. This takes 0 to 3 days in case of a weekend.
2 Production time
Some products are custom-made, like costumes or wedding dresses. This will add 10-14 days to the processing time.
3 Shipping in China
Products might not be in stock and need to be ordered from elsewhere in China. Like the LED lights at Lightinthebox, which can take 3-15 days.
4 Packaging the order
Some shops take extra time for packaging and quality control. This is another 0-2 days.
Not all these factors might be appropriate to your order. And the numbers of days are estimations. The total processing time for a regular product that is in stock can be just 1 or 2 days. With a more specific order it can be 2 weeks.
What is this Transmit Time?
The transmit time is the time that it takes to get your order from the store to your house. The shipping time is a part of it.
There are many factors that influence the transmit time.
1 Chinese customs
Sometimes your parcel gets stuck at the Chinese customs. This might happen when the declaration papers are not correctly filled out. Most of the times the Chinese customs are of no concern. But sometimes your parcel can get stuck here and it can stay there for an undefined number of days.
2 International shipping (premium)
This is what you pay for with premium shipping. The promised 3-8 days.
3 Clearance at your customs
If your parcel exceeds a defined amount of value, for example 22 euro in Europe, your customs might hold the parcel to calculate custom duty and sales taxes. With premium shipping services, the handling can be very fast. With the free shipping this can take 0-10 days.
4 Delivery in your country
Your postman has a job too, calculate 0-2 days.
5 You are not at home
I hate this and it happens all the time! Another few more days
Please don’t get overwhelmed by this huge list. Normally you will never notice the separate steps. But if your parcel doesn’t arrive fast, it may have gotten stuck in one of these steps.
How fast can you receive your order?
It is almost impossible to give a good estimation on how fast you can receive you order. Based on my own experience, the fastest free shipping took only 7 calendar days. This is really fast. But I also had some parcels that got stuck at the both Chinese as European customs. In general, the process from ordering till receiving takes 2 to 3 weeks. A few times it took almost 50 days.
How to get more free tips
This blog is an extract from the premium part of the Safe Buying in China Course.
If you would like to see the full video lesson for free about the delivery time, processing time and transmit time and with great tips on what to do if you didn’t receive your parcel, please answer the following questions.
In which country do you live and how fast do you – at average – receive your packages from China?
Do you use free or paid shipping?
Write your answers in the comment box below.
After your comment is approved, you will get an email with the link to the full lesson! [Update: This lesson is no longer available for free]
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