First-class mail, largely made up of transactional mail, payments, bills and statements, is decreasing while package shipping is on the rise.
This is due to more payments being processed online, reducing the need to send paper checks and envelopes.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is heavily feeling this trend.
“Within the last 12 years our total mail volume has dropped significantly,” according to a fact sheet from the USPS. “Since fiscal year 2007, total mail volume has declined by 31 percent. First-Class Mail, our most profitable product, has declined by 41 percent since 2007 and is expected to continue to decline as a result of the increase in online transactions and other digital communications.”
This also includes using social media, such as Facebook, to talk to relatives and friends instead of sending them a paper letter or traditional greeting card.
In 2018, USPS brought in $25 billion in revenue from First-Class Mail by delivering 56.7 billion in First-Class Mail volume. A First-Class stamp is 55 cents.
This number has declined steadily since 2009, which is the earliest year mentioned in the facts report by USPS. In 2009, USPS delivered 82.7 billion in First-Class Mail volume. By 2014, that number decreased to 63.8 billion, which reduced to 56.7 billion by 2018.
“The Postal Service continues to attract e-commerce customers and business partners because our customers see the value of our predictable service, enhanced visibility, and reasonable pricing. Our unparalleled delivery network coupled with the quality and professionalism of our workforce enables us to provide a value proposition unique in the shipping marketplace that even the largest e-commerce players cannot match,” said Elizabeth Najduch, USPS strategic communications specialist.
Meanwhile, shipping/package volume with USPS has doubled since 2009, increasing from 3.1 billion in 2009 to 6.2 billion in 2018. Marketing mail volume has seen a slight decrease from 81.8 billion in 2009 to 77.3 billion in 2018.
This is due to the rise of online shopping. The Mary Meeker Internet Trend Report of 2019 shows that online sales accounted for 1 percent of total retail sales in 2000. In 2019, that number is 16 percent.
However, one local store said package shipping hasn’t changed drastically.
Kathy Byers, manager of The UPS Store, said they do more package shipping than print mail business.
In regards to package shipping, Byers, who’s worked there for more than six years, said it’s been “steady.”
“I don’t think I’ve seen an increase but I don’t think I’ve seen a decrease,” she said.
Mike Clabuesch, owner of Goin’ Postal in Fenton with Lucy Valeriano, said they’ve also seen a decline in paper mail, such as stamped letters.
Clabuesch said there’s been a “slight increase” in package shipping.
“There are a lot of factors that go into it. Some of it has to do with online shopping,” he said, adding that more people are shipping items for home businesses, like online Etsy shops. “There are more people that have access to sell things online in an easier way. The economy is better, so people are more willing to send things to family members.”