Pitney Bowes recently announced a 48 percent increase in global parcel volume over the last two years, as reported by its second annual Parcel Shipping Index.
Parcel volume has grown from 44 billion parcels in 2014 to 65 billion in 2016, and the increase in growth shows no signs of slowing down, with the Index estimating parcel growth will continue to rise at a rate of 17-28 percent each year between 2017 and 2021.
The Index measures parcel volume and spend for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer consigned shipments with weight up to 31.5 kg (70 pounds), across 13 major markets, including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.
China, a new addition to this year’s Index and by far the largest market examined, grew parcel volume by 52 percent in one year, increasing from 21 billion parcels in 2015 to 31 billion in 2016. But, even when excluding China’s prolific volumes, the Index forecasts a strong and accelerating pace of growth in parcels throughout the world. On average, the other 12 major markets studied have grown 4.3% annually since 2012 and are projected to grow 4.5% – 5.4% annually through 2021.
The United States (at 13 billion) and Japan (at 9 billion) were also among the largest markets by parcel volume. In terms of investment, the United States ranked highest, spending $96 billion on parcel shipments, followed by China at $60 billion and Japan at $22 billion.
“The continued rise of ecommerce globally is keeping the parcel shipping market strong through 2021 as consumers are increasingly looking to online shopping for convenience, price and availability of products from around the world,” said Lila Snyder, executive vice president and president, Global Ecommerce, Pitney Bowes. “As consumer expectations continue to rise, shipping technology and service providers will need to help retailers and marketplaces meet those demands.”
In an interview with LM, Snyder added that the increase in parcel volume was no surprise given the growing ecommerce market, which continues to thrive with the advent of more flexible shipping options.
“However, the rate of the growth, 48 percent since 2014, was surprising,” she said.
LM asked Snyder if the next study will address issues not contained in this one. Her response:
“As ecommerce continues to grow, online consumers become more sophisticated and technology evolves, our study will evolve with it. In the meantime, we’ll be releasing another study at the end of September that also impacts shipping and logistics– Pitney Bowes’ annual Global Online Shopping Study, which examines consumer preferences, behaviors and trends in ecommerce.”
Results from the Parcel Shipping Index point to rapid growth and last mile delivery challenges – when a parcel is transported from a hub to the end-user – as driving innovation across markets. New trends and emerging technologies, such as parcel lockers, crowd-shipping, on-demand delivery services, evening and weekend delivery and drones, are impacting the customer shipping experience by shortening delivery times, lowering delivery costs and adding flexibility.
“Managing the growing demands and navigating the evolving landscape of parcel shipping can be complicated for organizations of all sizes, from large enterprises to small businesses,” said Mark Shearer, executive vice president and president, Global SMB Solutions, Pitney Bowes. “Digital transformation of a company’s shipping workflow—like the integration of SaaS-based multi-carrier platforms—can help to better enable carrier, timing and cost efficiencies for companies, as well as improve customer experiences through the addition of tracking capabilities, simplifying and streamlining processes for both senders and recipients.”
About the Author
Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]
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