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What is the Difference between Shipped and Out for Delivery?

Difference between Shipped and Out for Delivery

Are you trying to work out when an important parcel is due to arrive?

If you need to sign for a parcel, you want to make sure that you are home to receive it. Otherwise, the process will be delayed until the mail carrier returns.

The easiest way to get an estimate of the date and time is by tracking the shipment. And the status is updated regularly each time your parcel completes a new stage of the journey. But you may be wondering, ‘What is the difference between shipped and out for delivery?’, if so, I’ll answer all your questions, starting with…

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The Meaning of Shipped 

When you place an order from an online store like Amazon, you will receive updates from the seller. Once the seller has sent out the order, they are likely to send you a message telling you it’s been shipped. This essentially means that the order has been packed and handed over to a shipping company.

Furthermore, when you receive the message, you can be sure that your package is on its way to you. It has left the nearest distribution center and is on its way to your doorstep. However, it can be difficult to determine exactly when you will receive the parcel.

The Meaning of Shipped 

Factors that affect the length of time include:

  • The chosen dispatch service
  • Your distance from the seller
  • Weather conditions
  • Your location
  • The items in the package
  • Size and weight of the package 

If priority or express shipping was selected, your parcel should take between one and three days to arrive. Although these options cost a little extra, they are generally the fastest ways to receive parcels. If standard shipping was selected, you can expect to receive your parcel in between two and eight days

Air or land…

Then, the transportation method that is used can also have an impact on how long shipping takes. Shipping by air means that the parcel can cover a large number of miles relatively quickly. For long distances, this is a much faster transportation option than shipping by land.

However, when shipping parcels from another country, they have to pass through a number of additional processes. Passing through customs can delay the parcel by a few days. This is particularly likely if the contents information attached to the parcel is missing or very vague.

Weight and packaging…

Large and heavy items require special packing and often have specialized transportation needs. This can take a little longer to arrange than the transportation for standard parcels. Additionally, if temperature-controlled or cold chain packaging is used, your parcel is likely to take a little longer to arrive. 

Shipped vs. Delivered

Many people assume that these two terms have the same meaning. However, the first term basically means that the sender has handed over the parcel to a shipping company. This is the first stage of the journey, and the status is generated when the parcel is scanned. There are several other stages to complete before the parcel arrives at its designation.

The second term means that the parcel has already completed the journey. The status is updated once the parcel has reached the specified destination. In this case, the receiver has probably signed for the parcel, or someone has signed for it on their behalf.  

Shipped vs. Delivered

Out for Delivery Meaning

You will see this status when the parcel is in the final stage of its journey. This tracking status is only updated once the parcel is handed over to a local courier. The courier will then take the parcel to the designed destination as quickly as possible.

In most cases, you will receive your parcel on the same day when you see this status. However, if the courier receives the parcel toward the end of the day, you might receive the parcel the following day. Either way, you can be sure that the parcel is on its way to you. 

Other Common Terms 

If a parcel is being dispatched by the United States Postal Service, you can use USPS Tracking. All you need to do is enter the tracking number to see the tracking status. This is updated each time your package is scanned during the journey to you.

Let’s take a look at the most common types of tracking statuses. 

Accepted by carrier 

This tracking status means that the shipper has started the process by giving the parcel to the shipment company. The parcel is scanned by the company, and a tracking number is generated. This number is used to prove that the sender has handed over the parcel to the company. You can find this status by entering the tracking number on the website of most shipping companies, including FedEx

Accepted by carrier 

Arrived at the regional carrier facility

After the first stage, the company is responsible for safely shipping and delivering your parcel. The next stage involves transporting your parcel to the sorting facility in your region. This status indicates that the parcel has arrived at the regional fulfillment center, where it will be processed

Arrived at the local carrier facility or post office

Just before the parcel leaves the regional fulfillment center, it will be scanned once again. The parcel will then be taken to a post office or distribution center close to your location. This tracking status indicates that your parcel will be with you within a day or two


This status means that the parcel is currently traveling between different stages of the journey. This could be between two different shipment centers or between a local delivery warehouse and the final destination. The exact location of the parcel will depend on when this tracking status is updated. 


This status means that the parcel should already have reached its designated destination. Because the status will only be changed to ‘delivered’ once the courier obtains proof of delivery. This will usually be a signature from the person who received the parcel. 

What to Do if You Don’t Receive Your Package?

After waiting patiently for your package, you may see that the status has changed. The status could either say delivered or delivery not successful. If you see this, but you have not received the package, there’s a good chance that your package has been displaced, and you need to be proactive to find it.

Here are some steps you can take to resolve the issue. 

What to Do if You Don’t Receive Your Package

Check if delivery was attempted

The courier may have tried to deliver your parcel while you were away from home. In this case, you should usually receive an email or text message. This information should also appear on the tracking status when you check in to whatever app or website you’re using to track the parcel. 

See if someone accepted the package on your behalf 

If you were not at home when the parcel was delivered, your partner or housemate might have signed for it. This person might have forgotten to give you the parcel, and it’s worth checking with them. If you have a child, they might have brought the parcel into the house without telling you. 

Ask your neighbors

The courier might have misread the address and handed over the parcel to your neighbor. Although your neighbor was trying to be helpful, they might have forgotten to give you the parcel. So, it’s best to check with your immediate neighbors before moving on to the next stage. 

Contact the courier

If you still can’t find your parcel, it’s time to contact the shipment company. You can do this by calling or emailing and explaining the issue in as much detail as possible. The tracking status might have been updated by mistake, and the parcel is still on its way to you. However, this is highly unlikely. But the company should be able to check their system and find out exactly where your parcel is. 

Contact the seller

If the shipping company is unable to help, you need to reach out to the sender. They might have written the wrong address on the parcel or chosen a different type of shipping service. If they are an experienced seller, they should be happy to send a replacement item or issue a refund. 

How to Find Detailed Tracking Information?

The shipping service that is chosen will usually send you updates to help you track your parcel. However, in some cases, you need to visit the company’s website or app to find this information. You will see the information you need as soon as you enter the tracking number.

Where to get the tracking number?

This tracking number is provided when someone sends a parcel. You should be given this tracking number when your order is confirmed, and the seller hands it over. If you don’t receive the tracking number, it’s a good idea to contact the seller. This will confirm that the parcel has actually been handed over and will help to eliminate issues during the shipping process.

Now that you know what is the difference between Shipped and Out for Delivery? We can offer you…

More Shipping Terminology Explained

As you can see, shipping can be quite a complex process with many steps in the journey of a parcel from a sender to your address, and safely into your hands.

But, don’t despair!

We can help you out with any shipping term that may be confusing. For UPs users, check out everything from What Does Available for Pickup Mean USPS, to What Does Shipping Label Created USPS Awaiting Item MeanWhat is USPS Informed DeliveryDeparted USPS Destination Facility Meaning, and What Does Missent Mean USPS The Ultimate Guide for 2023!

For FedEx clients, take a look at the meanings of FedEx Scheduled Delivery PendingOn FedEx Vehicle for Delivery, and more!

Likewise, we can help you understand exactly What is FedEx SmartPostDoes FedEx Deliver on Saturdays, or Does FedEx Deliver To PO Boxes? And just How Late Does DHL Deliver?

Simply search this site with your postal queries!

Ok, back to…

What is the Difference Between Shipped and Out for Delivery? 

When you are waiting for a parcel to arrive, it is a good idea to track it using the tracking number. And when you enter the tracking number, you will see one of a few standard terms. If the status says delivered, the process has been completed, and you need to check who it was handed to.

Shipped,’ on the other hand, is a tracking reference you’ll see at a much earlier stage of the process. When the sender hands your package over to a professional shipping company in order to start the process of getting it to you, this is the message you will receive.

However, when you see the status out for delivery, your parcel is in the last stage of its journey. This means that the courier has collected the parcel and is on the way to your home or business. In this case, you can usually expect to receive your parcel within a day.

Wishing you a stress-free shipping experience!

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About Wendy Young

Wendy runs an employment agency with her husband, Ian, in Rochester, New York.

She loves nothing more than hosting a good dinner party and spends weeks intricately planning her next 'event.' She often uses these to introduce clients to potential employers in a relaxed, informal fashion. The food must be delicious, the cocktails and wine must be a perfect match, and the decor needs to impress without being over the top. With all that going on, it's amazing that she gets any time to write about her thoughts on securing the dream job.

They live on the outskirts of New York with their poodle, Princess.

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