The global postal industry is on track for future growth with e-commerce activities continuing to fuel industry growth according to an annual report, which was released last week by the International Postal Corporation (IPC).
In 2017, the IPC Global Postal Industry Report noted that the sector recorded 2.6% revenue growth, with an acceleration in the first half of 2018 through an increase of 4.6% year-on-year.
Ongoing e-substitution and e-commerce growth continued to widen the performance gap across business units, with revenue down 2.3% for mail and up 11.0% for parcels.
Mail keeps declining
Profitability remained strong for both divisions, with efficiency initiatives, network optimisation and capacity investment set to continue in the years ahead.
Apart from mail, the three main sources of industry revenue are parcels and express, financial services and logistics and freight. While mail still represents over 40% of industry revenue, posts continue to pursue growth outside the core. Most are becoming more diversified as close to three quarters have seen their mail revenue share fall since 2012.
Holger Winklbauer, CEO of IPC said: “E-commerce continues to fuel the industry. Posts are delivering more packets and parcels than ever before. While growth rates ranged widely, more than two thirds of posts saw stable or increasing revenues during the year and most cited parcels and express as a key growth driver.”
Winklbauer added that “Digitisation remains the key driver of structural mail volume decline across the industry, though growth in small and lightweight e-commerce packets has helped ease the fall. In 2017, the average decline in mail volume slowed to 4.6% compared to 5.2% in 2016.”
Roughly 50 billion parcels anticipated in 2018
In a related development, China's courier sector continued to expand in the first 10 months of this year, according to the State Post Bureau (SPB).
A Xinhua report said the sector raked in 478.05 billion yuan (US$ 68.9 billion) of revenue from January to October, up 23.5% year on year, with the volume of parcels delivered amounting to 39.43 billion.
In October alone, the sector's business revenue grew 19.6% to 53.42 billion yuan, slightly faster than the 18.5% growth rate in September. The volume of delivered parcels saw a 25.2% increase to 4.69 billion, 1.1 percentage points higher than that in September.
Cross-border courier services saw a 38.4-percent year-on-year increase in business volume in the first 10 months, with 880 million parcels delivered, the SPB said.
Nol van Fenema