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United States Postal Service - mail volume 2004-2018

United States Postal Service's total mail volume from 2004 to 2018 (in billion units)

by E. Mazareanu, last edited Aug 9, 2019
United States Postal Service - mail volume 2004-2018 After reaching a peak of around 216 billion units in 2006, the U.S. Postal Services (USPS) has experienced a year-on-year decline in mail volume every year since; by 2018 this number had dropped by over 30 percent to just 146.4 billion units.
Types of deliveries

Included in the above figures are all types of mail delivered by USPS: traditional mail, marketing materials, periodicals, and the shipping of packages. The decline in total volume can be attributed to the first three of these categories, which have each generated increasingly smaller revenue figures. However, the revenue generated from shipping packages has actually increased in recent times, leading to USPS’ total revenue staying relatively stable. This has been insufficient to address the decline in total volume though, with USPS reporting net losses each year for over a decade.

Reasons for declining mail voumes

Technology is the main culprit for both the decline in traditional mail volumes, and the increase in parcel deliveries. On the one hand, a clear and increasing majority of people in the U.S. use email, reducing the need for traditional mail services. On the other hand, the share of U.S. retail sales made online has doubled in just a decade, creating greater demand for package delivery services.
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United States Postal Service's total mail volume from 2004 to 2018 (in billion units)

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