UK parcel shipments hit 3.8bn as delivery demand rises

The number of parcels shipped in the UK rose by seven per cent to 3.8 billion in 2019, equivalent to $16.1 billion in revenue, with the pandemic expected to push the total for this year to record highs.

According to data from the Parcel Shipping Index from Pitney Bowes, global parcel volume exceeded 100 billion for the first time in 2019, with a total of 103 billion parcels shipped.

The index measures volume and spend for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer-consigned shipments in 13 major markets, including the US, Canada, Brazil, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, China, Japan, Australia and India.

In the UK, rising demand for deliveries resulted in 120 parcels being shipped per second, up from 111 the previous year, the research found. This equates to 57 parcels per person, compared with 48 in 2017; the highest per capita increase over the past two years.

In addition, more than three of every five parcels shipped in the world’s major markets were generated by China, signalling the continued dominance of the country in world commerce.

While all countries except Japan saw steady growth in parcel volume, the impact of emerging and maturing e-commerce markets was reflected in the figures.

Norway’s percentage increase in parcel volume is second only to China’s, with the European country shipping 80 million parcels compared to the previous year’s 60 million - an increase of 24 per cent. India had the third highest percentage increase after China and Norway, experiencing growth of 19 per cent in parcel volume, shipping 2.8 billion parcels.

More than 3,000 parcels were shipped every second in 2019 in the world’s 13 major markets.

Pitney Bowes predicted that global parcel volume is likely to more than double by 2026 due to the rise of online tech giants such as Amazon.

Its logistics arm delivered 1.9 billion packages in the US alone through its in-house delivery network, showing 155 per cent parcel volume growth in 2019 year-over-year.

Parcel volume worldwide is also likely to more than double to reach 220 to 262 billion by 2026, the index predicted.

The latest report reveals global growth of 17.7 percent in 2019, in line with the 17 to 28 per cent growth projection range given in previous reports. On average, 3,248 parcels were shipped every second in 2019 in the world’s 13 major markets, equating to an average of 27 parcels shipped per person.

Jason Dies, vice president of sending technology solutions at Pitney Bowes, said: “While parcel volumes keep rising, carriers are racing to keep up with competition and with consumer demand, delivering innovative new customer experiences, digitalising technologies and investing in infrastructure, all while generating sustainable revenues.

"Although we won’t document the full impact of the Coronavirus on the industry until next year’s report, in April alone the USPS noted a 60 percent rise in parcel volume across the US.”

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