Parcel Volume Growth Trends

In 2022, the momentum of global parcel volume growth faced a noticeable deceleration. This is attributed in part to China’s economic downturn and the moderation of U.S. e-commerce after its heights from the preceding year.

Slow growth from China

In 2022, the global parcel volume grew by 1%, totaling 161 billion parcels, per data from Pitney Bowes. This marked an increase from the previous year. China’s parcel volume was a meager 2% increase, marking its slowest growth rate since tracking started. Pitney Bowes’ Parcel Shipping Index revealed an intriguing statistic – 5,102 parcels shipped every second throughout the year.

The shift in China’s parcel volume can be attributed to the impact of COVID-19-related lockdowns in 2022. This slowdown in a country that was sustaining a double-digit growth rate from 2013 to 2021 raised concerns. Gregg Zegras, Executive VP of Global E-commerce at Pitney Bowes, noted, “China’s parcel volume growth trajectory has been disrupted by the pandemic’s aftermath. The world’s second-largest economy is grappling with a delicate pace of recovery, leading to reduced volume, declining e-commerce sales, and an overall economic fragility. Our projections indicate a 7% parcel volume CAGR from 2023 to 2028.”

A closer look at historical data reveals that China’s pre-pandemic parcel volume forecasts were ambitious, predicting a 25% CAGR from 2018 to 2022. The actual growth was a modest 22% CAGR during that period.

Parcel Volume Growth Trends

Parcel Volume Growth Patterns

The global landscape portrays varying patterns of growth. Parcel volumes that numbered 64 billion units in 2016 increased to 161 billion in the past year. India emerged as the leader, with an 18% increase fueled by e-commerce growth. Noteworthy changes were also exhibited by Italy (4%), China (2%), Australia (2%), and Brazil (2%). However, Sweden and Canada faced substantial declines, experiencing drops of –11% and –9%, respectively.

While parcel volumes exhibited an upward trajectory, revenue experienced a divergent trend in 2022, dipping by 1% to $485 billion. Pitney Bowes attributed this downturn to the strength of the U.S. dollar against other currencies. Among the nations studied, the U.S., Brazil, India, and Australia were the sole contributors to revenue growth.

Leading the chart in carrier revenue, the U.S. showcased a 7% surge, amounting to $198 billion, bolstered by a robust $9.30 per-parcel revenue. In the realm of per-parcel revenue, Canada was the frontrunner, with an impressive figure of $9.80, while France was close behind at $9.10. In stark contrast, China posted a mere $1.40 per-parcel revenue, underscoring the U.S.’s substantial revenue generation capacity.

The global landscape of parcel volume growth underwent a notable deceleration in 2022, attributed to a myriad of factors including China’s economic turbulence and the moderation of U.S. e-commerce. These insights, combined with future projections, underscore the dynamic nature of the parcel shipping industry and the evolving market forces shaping its trajectory.

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