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39 Billion by 2026: America’s Carriers Will Nearly Double Their Package Hauls, Data Shows

The latest Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index reveals that U.S. parcel volume grew 37 percent year-over-year in 2020, reaching 20 billion, up from 15 billion in 2019, a strong indication of the influence the pandemic and its igniting of e-commerce has had on the shipping and logistics industry.

In 2020, around 640 parcels were shipped per second, compared to 466 in 2019. Between 2015 and 2020, U.S. parcel volume doubled from 10 billion to 20 billion.

Pitney Bowes forecasts U.S. parcel volume will nearly double by 2026, reaching 32 billion to 39 billion, with a 10 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the next five years.

The index also showed carrier revenue reached $171 billion last year, a 29 percent year-over-year increase. UPS generated the highest carrier revenue with $60 billion, FedEx revenue was $58 billion and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reached $33 billion, while combined revenue from others totaled $2 billion.

USPS generated a 40 percent increase in parcel revenue growth year-over-year, FedEx grew 26 percent and UPS increased 15 percent, according to the report.

By revenue, UPS had the highest parcel market share at 35 percent, down from 39 percent in 2019; followed by FedEx with 34 percent, down from 35 percent; USPS with 19 percent, up from 18 percent, and Amazon Logistics garnered 10 percent, up from 6 percent.

By volume, USPS had the highest market share with 38 percent, the same as in 2019; followed by UPS at 24 percent, down from 30 percent; Amazon Logistics with 21 percent, up from 13 percent, and FedEx at 16 percent, down from 18 percent.

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USPS shipped 7.6 billion parcels in 2020, up from 5.7 billion in 2019, while UPS shipped 4.9 billion parcels last year compared to 4.4 billion in 2019, and FedEx shipped 3.3 billion, up from 2.7 billion. Amazon Logistics grew revenue to $18 billion–a 109 percent year-over-year increase–as it shipped more than twice as many parcels year-over-year to 4.2 billion from 1.9  billion and passed twice as many parcels to carriers for last mile delivery in 2020 at 2.8 billion.

“For the U.S., the index for 2020 reveals record volumes and extraordinary growth to mark a year like no other,” said Jason Dies, executive vice president of the at Pitney Bowes and president of its Sending Technology Solutions division. “A 37 percent increase in parcel volume year-over-year compares with an average growth of 10 percent over the past five years.

“Twenty billion parcels represent an average of 61 parcels generated per U.S citizen,” Dies added. “Going forward, accelerated investment in infrastructure, technology and digital capabilities will help carriers address surging demand, deliver at scale and cope with the unpredictable.”

The rise in e-commerce had a huge impact on 2020’s monumental parcel shipping volumes, the company noted. BOXpoll by Pitney Bowes, a consumer survey on current events, culture and e-commerce logistics, found 41 percent of consumers continue to shop online more today than they did before the pandemic, underscoring e-commerce’s record growth over the past 17 months.

“The pandemic had an enormous impact on the growth of e-commerce, driving the most significant shift from in-store to online shopping ever experienced,” Dies added. “And as we head into this year’s holiday season, consumer preferences for online shopping show no signs of slowing down.”

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. The index spans 13 countries and represents the parcel shipping activity of 3.7 billion people.