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China Shipped 108 Billion Packages in 2021

Pitney Bowes Inc. released its new Parcel Shipping Index—featuring 2021 data from 13 major markets around the world—revealing that China generated 108 billion parcels in 2021, making it the first country to exceed 100 billion parcels within one year.

Global parcel volume reached 159 billion in 2021, up 21 percent from 131 billion in 2020 and equating to 5,000 parcels per second compared to 4,160 in 2020. Total carrier revenue reached $491.5 billion, up 17 percent from $420 billion in 2020.

The index estimated that global parcel volume will likely reach 256 billion by 2027, with an 8.5 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2022 to 2027. The highest CAGR from 2015 to 2021 for parcel volume was generated by China at 32 percent, followed by Brazil at 20 percent.

The Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index found that parcel volume increased across all regions in 2021. China’s growth in parcel volume represents a milestone for the shipping industry.

Each day, China ships 300 million parcels, which is more than the smallest market in the Index, Sweden, ships in a year.

Across the Index, parcels shipped per capita averaged 41. Parcel volume per household, a new measure included in this year’s Index, was an average of 137 parcels shipped per household across all countries, with China shipping the most at 218.

All countries reported double digit carrier revenue growth, except Japan. The U.S. again generated the highest carrier revenue, at $188 billion, while France posted the highest revenue per parcel at $9.63. The average revenue per parcel was $3.

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The highest CAGR for the 2015-21 period for parcel revenue was generated by China at 26 percent followed by India at 15 percent. China remains the largest market in terms of parcel volume, reaching 108 billion, up 30 percent from 83 billion in 2020.

The United States remained the market with the highest carrier revenue, reaching $188 billion, an increase of 16 percent year over year. Sweden had the highest revenue growth of 38 percent year-over-year, followed by India bouncing back following a decline in 2020. In 2021 India generated a 32 percent year-over-year increase in parcel revenue, reaching $5.2 billion.

The U.K. generated 80 parcels per capita, the highest parcel per person of all 13 countries in the index.

“2021 was a pivotal time for the parcel shipping industry, as it experienced the aftershocks of 2020 and faced new challenges,” said Jason Dies, executive vice president of Pitney Bows and president of sending technology solutions. “It is incredible to see carriers generating strong revenue growth despite the headwinds. As consumer shopping habits evolve and inflationary pressures persist, it will be interesting to track the 2022 results.”

The Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index measures volume and spend for business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-business and consumer-consigned shipments with weight up to 70 pounds in 13 major markets, representing 3.8 billion people in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany, the U.K., France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, China, Japan, Australia and India.

Pitney Bowes is a global shipping and mailing company that provides technology, logistics and financial services to more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500.