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E-Commerce Drives Double Digit Growth in Global Parcel Shipping

The e-commerce phenomenon is changing many facets of everyday life, and the actual movement of goods is no exception.

Parcel shipping revenue increased 11 percent to $279 billion last year compared to 2016, according to the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index. The report, compiled by Pitney Bowes Inc., a global technology company that provides services in the areas of e-commerce, shipping, mailing and data, includes shipping-related insights across 13 countries representing 3.7 billion people.

The report said, globally, parcel volume rose 17 percent in 2017 to 74.4 billion parcels from 63.6 billion a year earlier. On average, 22 parcels were shipped per person around the world, with 2,300 parcels shipped every second. China reported the largest parcel volume growth at 28 percent year-over-year.

“China continues to have the greatest impact on the growing shipping market in terms of absolute scale and growth,” said Lila Snyder, president of commerce services at Pitney Bowes. “Globally, e-commerce continues to drive growth in all regions. Global e-commerce giants continue to raise the bar, resetting consumer expectations when it comes to shipping. As retailers and marketplaces race to keep up with increasing consumer expectations, carriers must create efficient, seamless services that deliver in a world of ‘fast and free’ e-commerce shipping.”

The index forecasts global shipping volume to surpass 100 billion parcels in 2020 in aggregate across the 13 covered countries–Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and U.S.

China (40.1 billion parcels), the U.S. (11.9 billion) and Japan (9.6 billion) represented the top three countries for parcel shipping volume in 2017. China’s parcel shipments represent 53 percent of the total shipments in the overall index.

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The U.S. ranked highest in parcel shipping revenue at $107 billion, generating 38 percent of the total revenue of the 13 countries. China, at $73 billion, and Japan with $25 billion, were next. The average shipping price of a parcel was $8.95 in the U.S., compared to $1.83 in China and $2.64 in Japan.

Despite slower parcel volume growth from the previous four years, China represented the largest market in parcel volume in year-over-year growth at 28 percent, followed by India  at 11 percent and Sweden at 9 percent. The U.S. shipped 11.9 billion parcels, an 8 percent gain from the prior year. This represents an average of 37 parcels shipped per person for the year.

Japan topped per capita shipping with 76 parcels per person in 2017, with the U.K. shipping 48 parcels per person and Germany at 41.

The Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index measures parcel volume and spend for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer consigned shipments with weight up to 70 pounds. Population data points were sourced from the International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database published in October 2017.