In 2017, Canada Post delivered one million parcels on 67 different days, mostly during the holiday season. In 2020, it started delivering a million or more parcels a day in mid-April and continued right through to the end of the year – 181 consecutive delivery days.
During the two weeks leading up to and including Christmas Eve, the postal service delivered just under 20 million parcels to Canadians, with a record 2.4 million of those delivered in one day – Monday, December 21st. Under difficult circumstances Canada Post broke records for parcel delivery in Canada, but it admits it was not enough to keep up with demand.
The company has shared what it learned from the surge in business in 2020.
First, small and medium-sized businesses quickly grew their online sales. The number of parcels Canada Post received from small businesses grew by more than 50 percent in 2020 compared to 2019.
Much of that expansion occurred as they ramped up sales in the fourth quarter. Growth was 62 percent in October, 73 percent in November and 85 percent in December.
The number of parcels dropped off at post offices jumped by 45 percent, with most coming from small businesses and start-ups.
The second lesson of 2020 is that most Canadians are now confident online shoppers. They will continue to buy more items more often from a wide variety of retailers.
Based on industry analysis and internal numbers, Canada Post believes Canadian retail e-commerce sales grew by 54 percent in 2020 to $62.9 billion and will reach almost $80 billion by 2023.
In 2020, Canadians fast-tracked their online shopping habits by a few years, accelerating demand for retailers and delivery providers to keep pace with their needs.
Third, Canada Post learned that Canadians and the retailers they buy from expect convenient, on-time, dependable and secure delivery.
An October Canada Post survey of 2,500 online shoppers found three quarters will shop more often with retailers that use a delivery company that ensures their packages are delivered securely.
About two-thirds of shoppers choose retailers that provide flexible delivery options, especially convenient and secure pick-up locations for their parcels that can’t be delivered.
“At Canada Post, we believe the rapid and sustained shift to online shopping created a tipping point that will have a profound impact on the Canadian economy, especially as we build back from Covid-19,” said Doug Ettinger, president and CEO of Canada Post.
“At Canada Post, we will be guided by these insights as we plan for the future.”