USPS x UPS x DHL x FEDEX - What's the best carrier to ship from the US to Brazil?
Companies are always seeking to grow their sales and one way to do that is by expanding their consumer base in new markets. Expanding to a new market has its challenges but does not need to be difficult, and now, with e-commerce under the spotlight, timing has never seemed to be better.
When it comes to new e-commerce markets where growth is steady and competition is less fierce, one country stands out for its size, economic power, and the thirst of its population for a variety of products - Brazil.
Brazilians spent 9.2 billion dollars in international sites in 2019, and that was only possible when they could, in fact, acquire the product. Without shipping to Brazil, companies miss out on a huge potential and prosperous e-commerce market that is expected to grow 30% by 2024.
Having a site prepared to sell to Brazil is definitely one way to reach the full potential of the market. However, you do not need to wait until the country is put on your company's roadmap to start capitalizing on it. With a checkout that accepts payment methods that Brazilians are used to use and a shipping option to deliver to Brazil, you can already start seeing the beauty of offering your products to such passionate customers.
Brazilians are experts in finding the best deals and most amazing products on the Internet. Due to the high cost and/or lack of options locally, they resort to international companies selling through e-commerce to buy what's trendy around the globe. Besides, with the world's 3rd largest Instagram and Facebook user bases, companies that build high social engagement with their audiences will definitely come across Brazilians on their social media accounts.
So why not make it a little easier for these consumers to buy from you?
What is the best carrier to start shipping to Brazil?
Before we talk about the main options, let's consider a few points.
Brazil country rules and regulations
When shipping to a new market it is a good idea to get familiar with the country’s rules and regulations.
There are some products that are prohibited to enter in Brazil, such as gambling items, antiques, and playing cards. So, if some of your products or components show up in the list of prohibited products, it might be a good idea to consider other products.
Duties and taxes
When shipping to Brazil, it is possible that you’re going to deal with customs, duties, and additional taxes, depending on the type and value of the product you're selling. It’s best to do as much research as you can beforehand to ensure a smoother delivery process.
There are also different types of shipping modes, and duties can be either prepaid (DDP) or paid upon delivery (DDU).
Having them prepaid is a way for your consumers to understand exactly how much the product is going to cost and therefore, reduce unpleasant surprises. However, not every product entering Brazil has to pay taxes.
If the only option you offer is prepaid duties, consumers might be paying extra when they don't need to - guess who's not going to be happy seeing such an increase in price at the checkout? Contrarily, having no duties prepaid can catch some people by surprise, so make sure this information is clearly stated on your site.
Customs and import documents
The correct customs paperwork required for an international shipment can vary from country to county. To ship to Brazil, you basically need a waybill, usually provided by your carrier and a commercial invoice.
The waybill is the label that contains all of the package information as well as the digit number used to track the parcel.
The commercial invoice helps prove ownership and payment. It is used to determine the true value of the product(s) being shipped and helps the country assess customs duties and taxes. For Brazil, it is essential to include in it the tax id number, called CPF for a person, and CNPJ for a business. Asking for this number at the checkout helps speed up the process.
Customs clearance varies according to the solution you choose. DHL, for example, states parcels are cleared on the same day of arrival, whereas shipping USPS will not grant you any priority and parcels will definitely take longer to be cleared.
Correios - Brazilian Postal Service
Correios is a state-owned company that has operated the national postal service of Brazil since the seventeenth century. It has the largest national coverage among shipping options and the most affordable prices.
State-owned carrier services shipping to Brazil have to rely on Correios for their last-mile delivery. Despite being very effective nationwide, packages shipped from other countries are held at customs for quite some time until they are put in conformity with Correios and can be delivered domestically.
Nearly 300,000 parcels arrive every day and often are processed manually. It can take up to 20 business days for a package to be sent to the delivery center. From there, delivery usually takes another 10 business days, which brings the total delivery time to around 40 days.
This is one of the disadvantages over carriers with last-mile delivery such as DHL and Fedex, which offer a more streamlined process from the country of origin until the consumer’s door. Nevertheless, consumers will pay extra for this advantage, making carriers more expensive than Correios.
These factors are well known to Brazilian consumers, who buy products abroad already expecting a long delivery time. However, the product and lower prices make it worth the wait.
The USPS is an excellent option for many merchants, especially those who ship small and light products. They are usually the cheapest option for small packages (under 4 pounds/2 kg), offer free pick up and even free insurance in some cases. They are also extremely cheap for packages under 13 ounces. On the other hand, they are not known for having the best customer support and tracking is pretty limited.
USPS is also a good option if customers don't expect a quick delivery, which as mentioned before, is the case for Brazilians. They offer 3 options for shipping to Brazil at different prices and delivery time - from USD 15 to USD 47, and 3 to 30 business days* (Price for 2kg Jan 2020). Additionally, they have flat rate options. As long as it fits in the box, the price is the same.
When using USPS to ship to Brazil, packages are transferred to Correios once they arrive, and the tracking number is updated. It is not the best user experience and it can be unclear where the package is. As previously mentioned, this will also add a few extra days to delivery due to customs clearance.
When should you use USPS to ship to Brazil? When you ship small packages and want the lowest cost, and fast delivery isn't a priority.
UPS is known for its reliability and robust tracking system. It is the option to choose if you want fast delivery and no headaches. With a large logistics network in Brazil and a private customs clearance process, they can deliver to customers’ doors in a matter of a few days - up to 5 business days* (according to their site). But of course, that comes with a price, a high one.
They do offer affordable prices (at times) for larger packages. If you're shipping over 2 pounds, they might offer faster and cheaper delivery than USPS.
With UPS, it is very unlikely you will lose a package and face delays. But, they will not pick up your packages for free.
When should you use UPS to ship to Brazil? When you want fast delivery, complete tracking, and the price is not a problem.
DHL is arguably the most used carrier to ship to Brazil. They are a bit cheaper than UPS or FedEx while offering the same delivery timeframes. As it is the case with UPS, DHL also has control over the entire logistics chain in Brazil, which allows them to clear customs and deliver to consumers' doors in a very short time.
One of its downsides is that every package entering Brazil will be taxed with DHL regardless of its value. If you're only shipping small, low-value products, your consumers will be paying taxes that don't exist, making your product less attractive.
When should you use DHL to ship to Brazil? When you're looking for a little more affordable option that still offers fast delivery and great traceability. And, when you're shipping more expensive products.
FedEx is a similar option to UPS and DHL. It counts with a great tracking system, Saturday delivery, and discounted rates if you have an account with them. Because of their competition with UPS, they can offer great prices at times. They also provide electronic trade documents to help streamline the process and clear customs faster.
However, they can get pretty expensive if the product weighs over 10 pounds. Also, FedEx counts with fewer offices than UPS and does not have free product pickup. If delivery is needed asap, FedEx has a "next flight delivery" option for those willing to pay the price.
If you're doing a lot of shipping to Brazil, FedEx has a rates calculator on its sites and other resources that can come in handy.
When should you use FedEx to ship to Brazil? When you're shipping large products, want express deliveries, and optimized tracking.