If you didn’t realize it already, the recently released Pitney Bowes Parcel Index showed that the parcel shipping industry was busy in 2020.

The Parcel Shipping Index comprises 2020 data from 13 major markets worldwide, placed global parcel volume at 131.2 billion in 2020, or a whopping 4,160 parcels shipped per second - a dramatic jump of 27 percent compared to 2019.

Volume driven by the COVID-19 pandemic on top of already booming eCommerce has led to the carrier capacity crunch of the past year, along with increased surcharges accompanying them.

And, as reported in the Parcel Shipping Index, there isn’t going to be a slowdown anytime soon.

The report estimates that while global parcel volume will likely double in the next five years to 266 billion in 2026 with an 11 percent CAGR from 2021-26, it could reach as much as 303 billion.

While the report takes a comprehensive view of the global parcel shipping landscape, some specific U.S. shipping statistics led the way, outpacing the 12 other countries.

According to the report-- although China still led the pack with a parcel volume of 83.4 billion, a jump from 63.5 billion in 2019-- the U.S. generated the highest carrier revenue in the Index, at $171.4 billion, an increase of 29 percent year-over-year. The revenue was on the back of 20.2 billion parcels, a 37 percent increase from 2019. This equates to parcels per capita of 61, compared to 45 parcels the year before.  

“Ecommerce 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 which tested their investments in people, infrastructure, and digital capabilities to the limit,” said Jason Dies, EVP, and President, Sending Technology Solutions Pitney Bowes, in a press release. “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.”

Key findings from the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index:

  • Parcel volume reached 131.2 billion in 2020, up 27 percent from 103.2 billion the year before
  • 4160 parcels shipped per second globally compared to 3248 in 2019
  • Global Parcel revenue reached $429.5 billion, up 22 percent from 2019
  • The United States remained the market with the highest carrier revenue, reaching $171.4 billion, an increase of 29 percent from 2019.

With global parcel volume expected to continue its upward trajectory, it is more important than ever for shippers to control their costs and their omnichannel, multi-carrier supply chain.

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