Global Shipping Volumes Forecast To More Than Double Over Next Five Years

Global parcel volume, as tracked in Pitney Bowes’ latest Parcel Shipping Index, reached 87 billion packages in 2018, up from 74 billion in 2017. Despite global trade uncertainty, the commerce solutions provider forecasts the volume to more than double over the next six years and reach 200 billion parcels by 2025.

“Global parcel revenues continue to benefit from the explosive impact of ecommerce, but it isn’t just online shoppers boosting the industry,” says Jason Dies, executive vice president and vice president, sending technology solutions at Pitney Bowes. “We know from our clients’ own behaviors that office sending is increasing, particularly in industries such as IT, health care and manufacturing. Carriers are trialing new and exciting strategies to deliver the best customer experience, to keep costs down, boost productivity and generate profitability, such as forming partnerships, designing next-generation sending technologies and developing last-mile innovation.”

The Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index measures both volume and spending for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer-consigned shipments that weigh up to 31.5 kg (70 pounds) in 13 major markets, representing 3.7 billion people— U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, China, Japan, Australia and India.

Pitney Bowes’ report details growth of 17 percent in 2018, in line with the 17-28-percent growth projection range given in previous Parcel Shipping Index reports. On average in 2018, there were 23 parcels shipped per person in the 13 major markets, and 2,760 parcels shipped every second. Global shipping volume remains on track to surpass 100 billion parcels in 2020 in aggregate across the 13 countries reviewed. China remains the strongest influence on the market with 51 billion parcels shipped in 2018. Excluding China, parcel volume increased by six percent, from 34 billion in 2017 to 36 billion in 2018. Global parcel revenue remains strong, reaching $317 billion, up 13 percent since the previous year.

The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of China’s parcel industry was 41 percent from 2013-2018. The volume grew 26 percent year-over-year although this growth has declined from the 48-61-percent growth seen from 2012-16. At 51 billion, its parcel volume is more than four times that of the U.S., which stands at 13 billion. However, the U.S.’s parcel revenuesؙ—at $119 billion—remain higher than China’s parcel revenues of $91 billion.

Brazil reported the second highest year-over-year growth rate in the index with a 25-percent increase in year-over-year parcel volume in 2017-18 and India posted a 25-percent CAGR in parcel volume and a year-over-year growth of 21 percent. All countries in the Index except Japan saw steady growth in parcel volume. Japan’s parcel shipments by volume, at nine billion, declined by two percent from the previous year, while revenue increased by 13 percent to $30 billion.

Pitney Bowes’ research to identify key trends across different industries found sustained growth in enterprise sending, primarily office shipping, across several different industries. Shipping volume generated by the IT industry is forecast to grow at 7.5-percent CAGR to 2023, with wholesale business-to-consumer rising at the same CAGR of 7.5 percent to 2023. Manufacturing shipping volume is expected to grow at 6.5-percent CAGR, and the health care industry at 3.7 percent, also to 2023.

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