The growth of e-commerce across all business segments in 13 global markets has pushed up parcel volume by 48 percent, according to the latest Parcel Shipping Index from Pitney Bowes. Parcel volume swelled to 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 to 28 percent each year between 2017 and 2021,” the company noted.

Pitney Bowes’ index tracks volume and expenditures for B2Bm B2C, consumer-to-business and consumer consigned shipments in 13 markets that include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. Parcel in the index weigh up to 70 pounds.

The index, for the first time, includes China and researchers at Pitney Bowes described it as the “largest market examined.” The firm noted that parcel volume in China rose by 52 percent in a year — jumping to 31 billion parcels in 2016 from 21 billion. “But, even when excluding China’s prolific volumes, the index forecasts a strong and accelerating pace of growth in parcels throughout the world,” authors of the report said. “On average, the other 12 major markets studied have grown 4.3 percent annually since 2012 and are projected to grow 4.5 to 5.4 percent annually through 2021.”

Japan and the U.S. rounded out the top markets by volume with 9 billion and 13 billion parcels, respectively. “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,” Pitney Bowes said.

Lila Snyder, executive vice president and president of global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes, said the continued growth of e-commerce 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. As consumer expectations continue to rise, shipping technology and service providers will need to help retailers and marketplaces meet those demands.”

Snyder and her colleagues said the results from the index report “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.” The company said 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.”


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