Pandemic sees US parcel volumes grow by nearly 40% in 2020

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Technology solutions provider Pitney Bowes has released the US data from its latest Parcel Shipping Index, ahead of the launch of the global index later this month.

Now in its sixth year, the industry report paints the clearest picture yet of the pivotal influence the pandemic has had on the US shipping and logistics industry.

The Index reveals US parcel volume grew 37% year-on-year, reaching 20 billion, up from 15 billion in 2019. In 2020, around 640 parcels were shipped per second, compared with 466 in 2019. Between 2015 and 2020, US parcel volume doubled from 10 billion to 20 billion.

Looking ahead, Pitney Bowes forecasts US parcel volume will nearly double by 2026, reaching 32-39 billion, with a 10% CAGR from 2021-2025.

Jason Dies, executive vice president and president, Sending Technology Solutions, Pitney Bowes, said, “Every year, the Pitney Bowes Shipping Index offers unrivalled industry insight. For the US, the Index for 2020 reveals record volumes and extraordinary growth to mark a year like no other. A 37% increase in parcel volume year-over-year compares with an average growth of 10% over the past five years. 20 billion parcels represent an average of 61 parcels generated per US citizen. Going forward, accelerated investment in infrastructure, technology and digital capabilities will help carriers address surging demand, deliver at scale and cope with the unpredictable.”

The rise in e-commerce had a huge impact on 2020’s monumental parcel shipping volumes. BOXpoll by Pitney Bowes, the consumer survey on current events, culture and e-commerce logistics, found 41% of consumers continue to shop online more today than they did before the pandemic, underscoring the record growth of e-commerce over the past 17 months.

“The pandemic had an enormous impact on the growth of e-commerce, driving the most significant shift from in-store to online shopping ever experienced,” said Dies. “And as we head into this year’s holiday season, consumer preferences for online shopping show no signs of slowing down.”

Data for the remaining 12 countries in the Index – Canada, Brazil, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, China, Japan, Australia and India – will be released shortly and will include a forecast of how shipping is expected to grow in the coming years.

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 lb) across Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the USA.

Key takeaways from the Index are:

Carrier revenue

  • Reached US$171bn – a 29% increase year-on-year
  • UPS generated the highest carrier revenue with US$60bn, FedEx generated US$58bn, USPS reached US$33bn while combined revenue from others was US$2bn.
  • USPS generated a 40% increase in parcel revenue growth year-over-year, FedEx 26% growth and UPS 15% growth

Carrier market share

  • By revenue, UPS had the highest parcel market share (35%, down from 39% in 2019), followed by FedEx (34%, down from 35%), USPS (19%, up from 18%) and Amazon Logistics (10%, up from 6%)
  • By volume, USPS had the highest market share (38%, the same as in 2019), followed by UPS (24%, down from 30%), Amazon Logistics (21%, up from 13%) and FedEx (16%, down from 18%)
  • USPS shipped 7.6 billion parcels in 2020, up from 5.7 billion in 2019; UPS shipped 4.9 billion parcels in 2020, up from 4.4 billion; and FedEx shipped 3.3 billion, up from 2.7 billion

Amazon Logistics

  • Grew revenue to US$18bn – a 109% increase year-on-year
  • Shipped more than twice as many parcels year-on-year, rising 127% from 1.9 billion to 4.2 billion
  • Passed twice as many parcels to carriers for last-mile delivery in 2020 (2.8 billion) compared with 2019 (1.4 billion)
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Dan originally joined Parcel and Postal Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest technological developments, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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