Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Decline of First Class Mail

First-class mail is in a steep decline, not surprisingly. The number of pieces of first class mail handled by the U.S. Postal Service peaked in 2001 at nearly 104 billion. By 2016, the number had slipped to 61 billion—a 41 percent decline and about what it was in 1981.

The biggest decline in first-class mail volume occurred after the introduction of the smartphone in 2007. Between 2007 and 2011, first-class mail fell by nearly 24 billion pieces—a decline of more than 5 billion pieces a year. Those years account for 56 percent of the overall decline in first-class mail volume since the 2001 peak. In more recent years, the decline in first-class mail volume has slowed to about 1.3 billion pieces a year.

Volume of first-class mail (in billions)
2016: 61.2
2015: 62.6
2011: 72.5
2007: 96.2
2001: 103.7 (peak year)

Source: USPS, Postage Rates and Historical Statistics

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