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Monday, December 15, 2014

Postal parcel volumes up across globe — but not in Asia-Pacific

Worldwide parcel volumes grew 3.7% year-on-year in in 2013 according to the latest figures from the Universal Postal Union.
But, perhaps surprisingly with e-commerce driving much of the growth, there was a slight decrease in volumes in the Asia-Pacific region, a big growth area for online shopping.
The UPU, whose figures focus on national postal operators rather than including figures from private sector parcel carriers, said infrastructure difficulties or “intense” competition in the parcel industry could account for the regional decline in volumes, which was also seen in Africa.
In the rest of the world parcel volumes have been growing thanks to the soaring popularity of online shopping. Worldwide parcel traffic reached 6.7bn items in 2013, with 6.6bn of that from domestic parcels.
UPU economist José Ansón said there were also a “significant” number of small e-commerce packets being sent through the letter stream — estimated to be about 240m in 2013.
These packets meant the average weight of letters increased in 2013. One kilogramme of letters now contains on average 10.88 items in 2013, compared to 12.21 items in 2010.
Ansón said of the decline in Asia-Pacific postal parcel volumes: “This could be due to that market’s focus on shipping goods through the Express Mail Service.”
Meanwhile, letter volumes across the globe have continued to fall, on average by 2.9% year-on-year in 2013, to 339.8bn items.
Letter revenues, however, were up 3% on the previous year, thanks to price increases, and comprise 43.4% of the $361.5bn (USD) global postal revenues. In industrialised countries letter revenue accounted for 59.6% of postal revenues.
While parcel revenues accounted for nearly 19% of postal revenues in 2013, the UPU said financial services brought in 14.5% of revenues and non-postal services like mobile phone sales brought in 23.5% of revenues, up from 21% in 2012.


The UPU’s figures came from a survey that included 150 of its 192 member countries.
The survey found that nearly 89% of the world’s population enjoys home mail delivery, although in Africa only 43% of people have home delivery, while in Arab countries less than two thirds of people have home delivery.
Some 3% of the world’s population still has no postal services at all, including 13% of the African population and 8% in Arab countries.
The UPU claimed that its survey showed the number of postal outlets across the world was stabilising.
In 2013 663,200 post offices were being run by 5.4m staff, with 30% of postal counters run by non-postal staff. On average, each post office serves 10,747 people, up 16% year-on-year.
“Despite the transformation the global postal sector is experiencing, it is interesting to note that the global network is not retracting,” said Ansón.
“Rather than seeing a decline of post offices or access points and staff, we are seeing a relative stabilization on both counts. The postal web remains the largest physical distribution network on the planet.”
Source: Post&Parcel/UPU

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