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Survey: Global parcel volume surpasses 100 billion

Over 3,000 parcels were shipped every second in 2019 in the world’s 13 major markets.

Global parcel volume reached 103 billion in 2019, according to the annual Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index. The total represents parcel volume growth of 18% in 2019, in line with the 17%-28% growth projection range given in previous Parcel Shipping Index reports. 

On average, the index indicates 3,248 parcels were shipped every second in 2019 in the world’s 13 major markets, equating to an average of 27 parcels shipped per person. China remains the strongest influence on the market with 63.5 billion parcels shipped in 2019 (more than three of every five parcels shipped in the major world markets) and an increase of 26% in parcel volume year-over-year. 

The report forecasts parcel volume is most likely to more than double and reach 220-262 billion parcels by 2026, with a 15% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 2020-2024. Due to increased uncertainty fueled by the global pandemic, the forecast provides a range that shows volumes could be as low as 200 billion or as high as 316 billion parcels in six years.

The index also highlights the advance of Amazon Logistics as a major market player, delivering 1.9 billion packages in the U.S. alone through its in-house delivery network, showing 155% parcel volume growth in 2019 year-over-year and forecasting its CAGR at 30% from 2020-2024.

Excluding China, parcel volume increased by 6.7%, from 37 billion in 2018 (including Amazon Logistics volume in the U.S.) to 39 billion in 2019. Global parcel revenue increased by 9% year-over-year from $323 billion in 2018 to $351 billion in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% during 2013-19. The U.S. ranks highest in the index for parcel shipping revenue at $130 billion.

“While parcel volumes keep rising, carriers are racing to keep up with competition and with consumer demand, delivering innovative new customer experiences, digitalizing technologies and investing in infrastructure, all while generating sustainable revenues,” said Jason Dies, executive VP and VP, sending technology solutions, Pitney Bowes. “Although we won’t document the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry until next year’s report, in April alone the USPS noted a 60% rise in parcel volume across the U.S. Our index has a track record of accurate forecasting, and our adjusted forecasts of parcel volume reaching 220-262 billion by 2026 demonstrate the phenomenal growth expected across the industry.”

The Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index measures parcel volume and spend for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer consigned shipments with weight up to 31.5kg (70 pounds) across Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the U.S., representing the parcel shipping activity of 3.7 billion people.

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