Mobile shopping

Due to the growth of online shopping, Pitney Bowes’ Parcel Shipping Index is predicting an increase in shipping volume of 20 percent by 2018.

The company’s index measures volume and spend for “business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer consigned shipments” with weight up to 70 pounds and in 12 major markets including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany and France, among other countries.

The researchers at Pitney Bowes said shipping volume was 31 billion parcels in 2015 — up 2.9 percent from 2014. “Furthermore, the index forecasts parcel shipping volume to grow annually at 5 to 7 percent for a total increase of 20 percent by 2018, with cross-border shipping leading the way,” the company said in its report.

Lila Snyder, president of global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes, said that with the growth “we’ve witnessed over the last several years in e-commerce, it is no surprise the global parcel shipping market continues to expand at a strong pace.

“That growth in parcel shipping is having a profound effect on businesses,” Snyder explained. “Increased demand has led to greater service options from an expanding number of global, national and regional carriers. However, managing multiple carriers and shipping goods across borders also creates new challenges and raises complexity.”

Pitney Bowes said the U.S. is the largest parcel shipping market of those included in the index, and had more than 11.8 billion parcels shipping in 2015. Japan and Germany were next with volumes of 9.4 billion and 3 billion, respectively. The U.K. came in at fourth with 2.2 billion parcels shipped last year.

“Globally, the parcel-shipping market is being driven primarily by growth in e-commerce with an increasing number of online shoppers around the world,” the researchers said.

Mark Shearer, executive vice president and president of global SMB (small and medium businesses) solutions at the company, said this growth is a challenge for smaller-sized business in particular who see demands from consumers for around-the-clock tracking and more shipping options.

“New and improved technologies, including cross-border and cloud-based multicarrier office shipping platforms, can help businesses of all sizes optimize their parcel shipping operations to maximize efficiency and deliver the best possible customer experience,” Shearer said.