The global postal network in 2014

  • The postal network constitutes the largest physical distribution network in the world.
  • 5.24 million people are employed by the world’s postal services.
  • There are some 679,500 postal establishments in the world.

Letter-post services

  • Posts processed an estimated 327.4 billion letter-post items (323.9 billion domestic items; 3.46 billion international items) in 2014.
  • Between 2013 and 2014, domestic letter-post traffic went down 2.5%, while that of international mail went down 7.3%.
  • While there is a general decrease in global letter-post volumes, this service still accounts for the bulk of postal revenues (41.8% in 2014). Moreover, the average weight of letter-mail globally has increased by 31 per cent.
  • On a world average, each inhabitant receives 45.6 letter-post items a year.


  • Posts processed about 7.38 billion domestic parcels in 2014 —3.1% more items than in the previous year.
  • Traffic of international parcels in 2014 was 101 million items, 5.7% higher than the previous year. Items sent were also heavier, as tonnage grew by about 12% on 2013.

Global postal revenues

  • Global postal revenues reached 239 billion SDR (330 billion USD) in 2014, an increase of 2% in nominal terms over 2013, due partly to e-commerce.
  • Letters represented 41.8% of these revenues (roughly 138 billion USD), with letter-mail falling to 327.4 billion items.
  • Postal financial services generated 17.1% of revenues (56.4 billion USD), up from 14.5% in 2013.
  • 19.1% of revenues (63 billion USD) came from parcels and logistic services, compared to 18.6% of revenues in 2013.
  • Other sources of revenue accounted for 22% of global postal revenues. These include services such as electronic postal services and the sale of retail articles.

Mail delivery

  • 85.6% of the world’s population receives its mail directly at home.
  • 11.3% of the world’s inhabitants must go to a postal establishment to collect their mail.
  • An estimated 3.1% of the world’s inhabitants do not have access to postal services.

Source: UPU, Development of postal services in 2014.