Pitney Bowes Index shows China breaks 100bn parcels barrier

Latest Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index Global shows parcel volume hit 159bn in 2021, or 5,000 parcels per second, with total carrier revenue of $491.5bn

Global tech company Pitney Bowes has released a shipping index showing China generated 108bn parcels in 2021, making it the first country to top the 100bn mark in one year. The UK, meanwhile, generated 80 parcels per person – the highest of all countries in the Index.

Global parcel volume hit 159bn in 2021, or 5,000 parcels per second, with total carrier revenue hitting US$491.5bn. The Index predicts that parcel volume could reach 216bn by 2027.

This is the seventh edition of the Parcel Shipping Index produced by Pitney Bowes, a company that provides commerce solutions across ecommerce, shipping, mailing, data and financial services. The report features data from 13 major markets worldwide.

The Index measures 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 lbs.) across 13 major markets, representing 3.8bn people in the US, Canada, Brazil, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, China, Japan, Australia and India.

Pitney Bowes Shipping Index an industry benchmark

Based on proprietary and published data, the Index has become an industry benchmark and a reliable source of accurate forecasting since the inaugural report in 2016.

China’s growth in parcel volume is a milestone for the shipping industry; each day, it ships 300 million parcels -- more than Sweden -- the smallest market in the Index ships in a year.

Parcel volume per household is a new measure included in this year’s Index. An average of 137 parcels were shipped per household across all countries, with China shipping the most, at 218.

All countries bar Japan reported double-digit carrier revenue growth. The US again generated the highest carrier revenue, at $188bn, while France enjoyed the highest revenue per parcel, at $9.63. The average revenue per parcel was $3.

Other key findings from the latest Parcel Shipping Index include:

  • Royal Mail generated the highest revenue of all major carriers at $6.88bn, an increase of 13% year-on-year
  • Amazon Logistics returned the next-highest revenue ($3.12bn)
  • Yodel saw the highest year-over-year revenue increase of 33%, to $1.36bn
  • Amazon Logistics generated the highest compound annual growth rate (44%) between 2015-2021
  • UPS grew 27% year-on-year, to $2.15bn, up from $1.69bn
  • Hermes' revenue growth dropped from 161% in 2020, to 20% in 2021.

Pitney Bowes Sending Technology Solutions President, Jason Dies, said: “Last year was a pivotal time for the parcel shipping industry, as it experienced the aftershocks of 2020 and faced new challenges.

“It is incredible to see carriers generating strong revenue growth despite the headwinds. As consumer shopping habits evolve and inflationary pressures persist, it will be interesting to track the 2022 results.”

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