Parcels boom is boost to print

Jo Francis
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Worldwide parcel volumes exceeded more than 100bn for the first time last year according to the latest research from Pitney Bowes – before the spike in online ordering caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pitney Bowes survey: UK volumes were up 7%
Pitney Bowes survey: UK volumes were up 7%

The latest stats from the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping index covers the major parcel markets worldwide including the UK.

Last year global parcel volume was 103bn with China by far the largest market, accounting for the lion’s share with parcel volumes up 26% to a whopping 63.5bn – the equivalent of more than 2,000 parcels shipped every second.

In the UK volumes were up 7% to 3.8bn, which is good news for providers of packaging and printed collateral related to parcel deliveries and returns, and promotional inserts. 

Integrity Print group sales and marketing director Andrew Law said the firm’s products for e-commerce customers were showing strong growth.

“It’s a very interesting sector at present and we expect it to remain very busy up to Christmas,” he said.

“We are absolutely rammed on integrated label products at the moment and we are also seeing growing demand for other products, such as linerless labels and eco labels.”

Pitney Bowes predicted that global parcel volumes were “likely to more than double by 2026”, in part due to major expansion at Amazon Logistics.

The Covid-19 pandemic and home working has also resulted in a big shift to e-commerce and online ordering this year.

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 parcel weights of up to 31.5kg in 13 major markets: China, the USA, UK, Canada, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Australia and India.

The five biggest markets are China, the US, Japan, the UK and Germany.

Pitney Bowes said that the UK had "the highest per capita increase over the past two years", with 57 parcels per capita compared with 48 in 2017.

Separately, Royal Mail has launched a new parcel pick-up service in the UK, following a successful trial in the West of England.

Parcel Collect will be available six days a week. Postmen and postwomen will collect a parcel from the customer’s door or a nominated safe place for 72p per parcel, in addition to postage costs.

Royal Mail can collect up to five parcels per address, with a maximum parcel weight of 20kg and size of 61x46x46cm.

Royal Mail, which is trying to reinvent itself in the face of declining letter volumes, described it as “one of the biggest changes to the daily delivery since the launch of the postbox in 1852”.

Other parcel delivery specialists already offer home collection services. 


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