According to Pitney Bowes’ sixth annual parcel shipping index global parcel volume reached 131.2 billion in 2020 totaling 4,160 parcels per second and a 27 percent increase from 2019.
The company’s index, which looks at data from 13 major global markets, saw a parcel volume increase across all regions in 2020 with India being the exception. China remained the largest market by volume, reaching 83.4 billion in 2020 on its own. Pitney Bowes predicts China will be the first country in the index to reach 100 billion parcels by volume and suggests it will likely happen in 2021.
Notably, 2020 was the first year in the six-year history of the shipping index that the U.S. parcel volume increase at a faster rate than China.
Pitney Bowes’ index also looks at carrier parcel revenue, which increased across all 13 countries in 2020 and collectively reached $429.5 billion — a 22 percent increase from 2019. The highest carrier revenue continues to be in the U.S. Although, countries including the U.S., Brazil and Australia saw more established carriers losing market share to competitors.
The top three markets by revenue in 2020 were the U.S. at $171.4 billion, China at $127.5 billion and Japan at $33.3 billion. Together these three markets represented 77 percent of global parcel revenue in 2020. At the same time, the U.K. saw the highest increase in carrier revenue, up 37 percent year-over-year to $22.2 billion.
“For six years, the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index has tracked monumental change across the shipping and logistics industry, reflecting shifting consumer behaviors and carriers’ ability to adapt at scale,” said Jason Dies, executive vice president and president of Sending Technology Solutions at Pitney Bowes. “E-commerce has become fundamental to our lives, and the staggering parcel volume revealed in the latest index reflects this. For the world’s carriers, as essential service providers 2020 was a transformative year [that] tested their investments in people, infrastructure and digital capabilities to the limit. The Parcel Shipping Index accurately tracks and compares their performance during one of the hardest years they’ve ever faced. The index has never been more widely anticipated or more relevant.”
To provide carriers insights into the changing market conditions, this year’s index also introduced a new performance measure by looking at revenue per parcel. Overall, France was revealed to have the highest generated revenue per parcel at $9.30, in contrast with China having the lowest revenue per parcel at just $1.50.
In addition to generating the highest carrier revenue in the index, with an increase of 29 percent year-over-year, parcel volume in the U.S. rose by 37 percent to reach 20.2 billion. And parcels per capita in the U.S. reached 61, up from 45 in 2019.
According to Pitney Bowes’ insights, the rise of Amazon Logistics was most prominent in the U.S. as UPS’ and FedEx’s share of both parcel volume and revenue declined. Amazon Logistics generated 109 percent year-over-year parcel revenue growth and a 127 percent increase in parcel volume in 2020.