The global postal network: key figures

The postal network constitutes the largest physical distribution network in the world.

5.26 million people are employed by the world’s postal services.

There are some 690,700 postal establishments in the world.

Letter-post services

Posts processed an estimated 320.4 billion letter-post items (317.4 billion domestic items; 3.04 billion international items) in 2015.

Between 2014 and 2015, domestic letter-post traffic went down 3.2%, while that of international mail went down 9%.

While there is a general decrease in global letter-post volumes, this service still accounts for the bulk of postal revenues (41.4% in 2015). Moreover, the average weight of letter-mail globally has increased.

On a world average, each inhabitant posts 43.8 letter-post items a year.


Posts processed about 7.81 billion domestic parcels in 2015, 6.4% more items than in the previous year.

Traffic of international parcels in 2015 was 108 million items, 12.1% higher than the previous year.

Global postal revenues

Global postal revenues reached 244 billion SDR (approximately 331 billion USD) in 2015, an increase of 1.6% in nominal terms over 2014.

Letters represented 41.4% of these revenues (137 billion USD), with letter-mail falling to 320.4 billion items.

Postal financial services generated 16.3% of revenues (54 billion USD), up from 17.1% in 2014.

20.5% of revenues (67.9 billion USD) came from parcels and logistic services, compared to 19.1% of revenues in 2014.

Other sources of revenue accounted for 21.8% of global postal revenues. These include services such as electronic postal services and the sale of retail articles.

Mail delivery

83.3% of the world’s population receives its mail directly at home.

13.4% of the world’s inhabitants must go to a postal establishment to collect their mail.

An estimated 3.2% of the world’s inhabitants do not have access to postal services.

Source: UPU, Development of postal services in 2015.