Although it plays a vital role in connecting people, businesses and government across the globe, the postal industry is grappling with its greatest challenge yet: digital disruption.
On the one hand, the traditional core business of mail delivery is in decline as communications move online; on the other, the industry faces fierce competition in the rapidly-growing e-commerce parcel market. As a result, posts are shifting from state-owned monopolies to commercial companies, from mail dependency to diversified portfolios, from a well-charted history into a dynamic, uncertain future.
Despite ongoing structural change, the postal industry continues to grow: industry revenue reached €409.8bn in 2018, up €14bn on 2017 results. Parcels remained the engine of growth, contributing almost half of the aggregate increase in revenue. Mail revenue was also up, albeit by a smaller margin: while posts delivered fewer letters worldwide, volume declines were in part offset by growth in small e-commerce packets; meanwhile letter rate rises helped cover the significant costs of operating nationwide, one-price-goes-anywhere postal services. And as other areas like financial services and logistics have grown in importance, non-mail business segments now account for two thirds of industry revenue on aggregate.
The industry is also investing in the future. Capital expenditure as a share of total revenue increased in 2018 as posts looked to automate mail sorting, expand e-commerce capacity and improve IT infrastructure. Acquisitions have also helped posts seek international growth.
Now in its eleventh edition, this year’s IPC Global Postal Industry Report provides a more comprehensive view of the postal industry than ever before. We analyse 50 posts from Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and BRICS countries, as well as integrators FedEx and UPS. We continue our broad analytical coverage, from detailed performance comparisons across posts to tracking key market and industry trends. And with refreshed deep-dive articles and a timeline of key events, we keep on top of industry news, hot topics and disruptive trends.