We’ve all heard about Shein by now. Its collection of fashionable, functional, and most importantly, affordable items has long established it as a reputable global retailer.
This begs the question:
How long does Shein take to deliver to South Africa?
I’ve compiled data from different delivery services, customs reports, and previous buyers to answer your questions.
Even better, I personally tested Shein’s delivery times to South Africa to see if they’ll arrive in the specified delivery time.
If you’re wondering how long your package will take to arrive, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive right in!
How Long Does Shein Take To Deliver to South Africa?
In a nutshell, you should expect your package to arrive within four to five weeks.
Several factors may affect when your package reaches your doorstep, but it’ll almost always fall within that time frame.
What Are the Influencing Factors?
Most packages are delivered without any hurdles, but there are four factors that can influence the expected delivery time.
Processing your package begins the second you place your order.
Shein states that the time for processing is 1-3 days, but it usually takes under 24 hours to be prepared for shipping.
From experience, the processing time will depend on four factors:
- The size of your shipment
- The availability of the items
- Peak sale season
- Global holidays
Bigger orders usually take more time to get processed. This boils down to the simple fact that there are more items to be prepared, packed, and sent for shipment.
Items that are low in stock or unavailable may delay your package further. Even if all of your items appear in stock, some items may go out of stock before your order is prepared.
In this case, Shein will notify you of the unavailable item and prepare the rest of your package for shipment.
Finally, orders placed during peak sale season or holidays may take an extra day or two to be processed.
All in all, processing your order should take 24 to 48 hours. Even if your package was delayed, it should never take more than three days.
2. International Shipping
International shipping to South Africa takes some time. As of the time this article was written, Shein states that standard shipping (which is the only shipping method) takes 25 to 29 days to reach customs.
So, international shipping alone may take up to four weeks to be delivered.
A lot of buyers report that their shipment reached customs in less than three weeks, but things don’t always work out so smoothly.
My opinion? It’s better to have no expectations and be pleasantly surprised than to have high hopes and be disappointed.
I’m not going to talk about what could hinder the shipping process, since this is beyond the scope of this article.
However, if your package doesn’t run into weather delays or port congestion, expect it to arrive someday in the third week.
If your order takes over the specified time to reach customs, you should submit a ticket for them to look into it.
In the unlikely event of your package never reaching customs, you must notify Shein about it within six months of placing your order. If you fail to do so, Shein may not accept your ticket, and you may have a difficult time claiming your refund.
Custom regulations are unduly complex, and there’s no definitive timeframe to when your package will be cleared.
Once your package reaches customs, it’ll undergo inspection by the ITAC. Once it gets approved, you’ll be liable to pay:
- Customs duty
- Disbursement fee
The customs invoice will be around 30% of the package’s total price.
Heavy packages usually take a longer time to be cleared. Again, public holidays may cause the package to stay in inspection for longer, but it usually doesn’t take more than a couple of days.
Sometimes, the shipping service takes time to send you the customs invoice, which leads to unnecessary delays.
In my experience, Buffalo Logistics took a few days to email me the invoice, even after the tracking page stated a tax invoice had been issued.
Fortunately, a quick email to Buffalo Logistics solved the issue. However, similar problems have been reported with Aramex, and you might want to constantly follow up with the shipping service.
After paying the invoice, your package will be cleared and on the way to the post office or your doorstep.
4. Local Shipping
Local shipping usually takes no more than 48 hours to reach the destination. Non-working days may delay your shipment, but you shouldn’t expect any other hurdles.
If your order is set to arrive at your local post office, you’ll receive an email from the shipping service informing you of its arrival.
According to the tracking page, your package will go through ten phases before arriving at its destination:
- Package confirmed. Awaiting pickup
- Package received by the international warehouse
- Package disinfected, inspected, and processed
- Package shipped to supplier’s warehouse (Aramex or Buffalo Logistics)
- Packaged shipped outside China
- Package received at South Africa customs
- Package awaiting payment at customs
- Package cleared and shipped to South Africa warehouse
- Package in transit to destination
- Package arrived
I decided to test Shein’s delivery times myself and give you a comprehensive review of the whole process.
Spoiler alert: my package arrived earlier than the expected delivery date!
Day 1 – Ordered From Shein
I deliberately ordered a lot of items from Shein to see if the delivery times would be affected.
Using Shein’s 20%-off coupon, I ordered 18 items and paid an extra fee for the shipping guarantee.
The shipping guarantee costs R15 and enables you to ask for a new package if your order is damaged or lost.
Once my order was placed, I was redirected to the tracking page. From there, the waiting game began.
Day 2 – Order Processed
It took a little over 24 hours for my order to be processed, which was a pleasant surprise.
I had heard big packages take two and sometimes three days to be processed, but that wasn’t the case for me.
Thankfully, there were no sale events or public holidays that put my package through any delays.
Day 21 – Arrived at Customs
I opened the tracking page on day 21 and surprise! My order has finally arrived at South Africa’s customs and a customs invoice is awaiting payment.
It took 19 days for my package to reach South Africa. Since Shean states that international delivery takes 25 to 29 days, my package was way ahead of schedule!
Day 24 – Stuck at Customs
My package was being handled by Buffalo Logistics. Unfortunately, I had waited for three days and no customs invoice was sent to me.
I contacted Buffalo Logistics about the issue. Fortunately, they were quick to respond and asked for my tracking number and importers’ code.
I didn’t have an importers’ code and you don’t need one as well. I was emailed the invoice shortly after my email and paid it immediately.
Day 25 – Package Cleared
I checked the tracking page the following day, to my surprise, my package had been cleared and ready for shipment to the warehouse.
So far, my order had taken 25 days to ship to South Africa and get cleared from customs. I was informed that my package would be delivered to my doorstep the following day.
Day 27 – Order Delivered
Finally! My package arrived at my doorstep on day 27. It was in a big flyer bag and every item was placed in a zip-locked bag.
I expected my order to take no less than four weeks to reach its destination. To my surprise, my package was delivered one day short of three weeks.
Honestly, I was impressed with Shein’s delivery time and didn’t experience significant delays. If the shipping company had sent me the customs invoice a little bit quicker, I would’ve gotten my package even sooner.
The only unpleasant thing about my experience was the amount of customs fees that I had to pay.
I did the math, and I paid exactly 32.2% of the total price in customs. That’s definitely not a small amount, but at least it was all worth the wait.
Shein has been increasingly putting pressure on local retail markets, but is the delivery time worth the wait?
The short answer is: your package will take roughly four weeks to arrive at your doorstep. If your package gets held at customs for any reason, expect an extra week of timorous anticipation.