The downward trend in global letter-post traffic continued as the latter went down by 2.9 per cent to 339.8 billion items from 2012. Volumes consisted of 336.3 billion domestic and 3.5 billion international items.
However, there was a silver lining – while volumes may have gone down, the tonnage has gone up, according to José Ansón, a UPU economist.
“An estimated 240 million small packets travelled through the letter-post stream in 2013,” Ansón explained, pointing to the rise of e-commerce. “While overall volumes in terms of number of items have decreased, the average weight of items is heavier.”
In 2010, a kilogramme of international letter-post contained an average of 12.21 items. Today, the same consists of 10.88 items.
This increase in tonnage could explain why the letter-post stream continues to account for 43.4 per cent of global public postal revenues.
In certain regions, the contribution of letter post to revenues was even higher. This could be seen in industrialized countries, where this stream contributed 59.6 per cent to revenues.
Almost 19 per cent of postal revenues came from parcels and logistics in 2013 with total parcel traffic estimated at 6.7 billion items. The bulk came from the domestic side or 6.6 billion items, representing an increase of 3.7 per cent. International parcels also went up to 67 million items, growing by 5.8 per cent since 2012.
Parcel volumes increased in all regions of the world, except in Asia-Pacific, where a slight decrease was observed. “This could be due to that market’s focus on shipping goods through the Express Mail Service or EMS,” Ansón said.
Postal financial services accounted for 14.5 per cent of revenues.
‘Other services’ accounted for 23.5 per cent of global revenues, up from 21 per cent in 2012. They encompass non-postal services, such as retail of mobile-phone cards and similar.
The postal network continues to possess the world's largest physical network and has even grown.
The size of the public postal network stayed stable in 2013 with some 663,200 post offices and 5.4 million staff serving the world. Almost 70 per cent of establishments are staffed by postal officials, while the rest is run by persons not officially part of the postal operator.
In terms of inhabitants served per post office, the world average was 10,747 in 2013, an increase of 16 per cent on the previous year. Access has decreased in industrialized countries with 5,821 inhabitants per establishment and in Asia, reaching 12,575 from 9,234 in 2012.
In Africa, the opposite is true. The number of inhabitants per post office has decreased to 62,792 in 2012 from 71,386. Some 44 per cent on this continent do not have home delivery and collect their mail from the local post office.
This time, 150 countries responded to the UPU’s survey of the postal landscape.Economy