More than 100 billion parcels shipped in 2019

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

STAMFORD, Connecticut – More than 100 billion parcels were shipped around the globe in 2019. Global parcel volume reached 103 billion.

The annual Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index found that more than three of every five parcels shipped in the world’s major markets are generated by China. More than 3,000 parcels were shipped every second in 2019 in the world’s 13 major markets.

The report forecasts parcel volume is most likely to more than double and reach 220 to 262 billion parcels by 2026, with a 14.8 percent 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 percent parcel volume growth in 2019 year-over-year and forecasting its CAGR at 30 percent from 2020-2024.

Amazon Logistics has been rapidly increasing delivery capacity in the U.S. and expects to compete for external business with traditional carriers. This effort has been stalled somewhat in 2020 driven by COVID-19 and the significant increase in Amazon’s own shopping volume. Amazon’s overall U.S. parcel volume (including Amazon Logistics Network and parcels given to USPS and other carriers) increased by 22 percent year-over-year.

3,248 parcels shipped every second

The latest report reveals growth of 17.7 percent in 2019, in line with the 17 to 28 percent growth projection range given in previous Parcel Shipping Index reports. On average, 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 and an increase of 26 percent in parcel volume year-over-year. Excluding China, parcel volume increased by 6.7 percent, from 37 billion in 2018 (including Amazon Logistics volume in the U.S.) to 39 billion in 2019.

Global parcel revenue increased by nine percent year-over-year from $323 billion in 2018 to $351 billion in 2019, at a CAGR of 11 percent during 2013-19.

E-commerce maturing

While all countries except Japan saw steady growth in parcel volume, the impact of emerging and maturing e-commerce markets is reflected in the figures. Norway’s percentage increase in parcel volume is second only to China’s, with the European country shipping 80 million parcels compared to the previous year’s 60 million, an increase of 24 percent.

India has the third highest percentage increase after China and Norway, experiencing growth of 19 percent in parcel volume, shipping 2.8 billion parcels and reaching a CAGR of 22 percent since 2013.

All markets reported an increase in carrier revenue growth year-over-year, with the exception of Germany which saw a slight decline of -0.2 percent, largely driven by currency exchange rates as carrier revenue growth in Euros in Germany was positive at 5.2 percent.

“While parcel volumes keep rising, carriers are racing to keep up with competition and with consumer demand, delivering innovative new customer experiences, digitizing technologies and investing in infrastructure, all while generating sustainable revenues,” said Jason Dies, executive vice-president and vice-president sending technology solutions at 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 percent rise in parcel volume across the U.S.”

Findings by region

The United States generated $130 billion revenue in parcel revenue, the highest of all 13 countries studied and an increase of 11 percent year-over-year. The market shipped 14.7 billion parcels, up from 13.2 billion in 2018.

Amazon Logistics volume is included in both years, having delivered 1.9 billion packages in the U.S. alone through its in-house delivery network, with a CAGR forecasted at 22 percent to 2023.

Brazil’s parcel volume grew 15 percent year-over-year, with volume reaching 850 million parcels – an average CAGR from 2014-19 of 10.5 percent.

Canada’s parcel shipments reached 1.1 billion, up eight percent from the year prior.

Europe and Asia-Pacific

In Europe France saw parcel volumes reach 1.34 billion. Germany generated 3.7 billion parcel shipments in 2019. Italy reached 990 million parcels shipped in 2019, 15 percent growth over the previous year. In the United Kingdom parcel shipments generated $16.1 billion in revenue and reached 3.8 billion parcels, a seven percent increase in both parcel volume and revenue since 2018.

Australia shipped 934 million parcels, an increase of eight percent year over year. China’s parcel volume reached 63.5 billion in 2019, up from 51 billion in 2018 and 40 billion in 2017. Japan’s parcel volume, nine billion, declined by three percent from the previous year. Revenue increased by five percent to $31.5 billion.

The Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index measures volume and spend for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer-consigned shipments with weight up to 31.5 kg (70 lbs.) in 13 major markets, representing 3.8 billion people in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, China, Japan, Australia and India.