Remember when shopping meant driving to the store, browsing around, and bringing your items up to the counter? Ahhh, the good old days. 

In the past few years, e-commerce has permeated the fabric of consumer culture. In turn, online shopping and delivery services continue to increase at an impressive rate. Let’s dive into some notable package delivery statistics for 2018 and 2019. 

2018 Package Delivery Statistics: A Global Perspective

E-commerce is booming worldwide. According to Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, the estimated number of packages delivered annually will rise to 16 billion by 2020. So far, Pitney Bowes is right on the money. In 2018, shipments grew by 17%. That’s a lot of packages delivered. 

More statistics from Pitney Bowes:

  • Parcel volume reached 87 billion globally, a 10.8% increase from 2017.
  • Parcel volume is expected to reach 200 billion by 2025.
  • Every second  2,760 packages are shipped.
  • The United States had the highest parcel revenue of $119 billion.

2018 US Shipping Statistics: American Expectations on The Rise

When analyzing US package delivery statistics, one thing is clear. Americans want their deliveries, and they want them fast. It seems like all delivery options aren’t quick enough for the average consumer, as consumers are demanding a top-notch shipping experience. With all that pressure, retailers are doing their best to meet expectations. 

To prove how delivery companies rely so heavily on their shipping, check out these sentiments displayed in Convey’s 2018 Last-Mile Delivery report. Out of the shoppers surveyed:

  • 98% said delivery impacts their brand loyalty.
  • 74% prioritize delivery most in the online shopping experience.
  • 51% expect a refund on shipping if a package arrives late.

If those statistics didn’t show you how speedy shipping is valued within parcel delivery services, Retail TouchPoints reports that:

  • 63% expect a standard delivery to be within three days.
  • 61% want quicker delivery times.

Same Day Delivery: B2C Dominates Market Share

According to Statista, business-to-consumer segments utilized same-day delivery services more than B2B and C2C combined. B2C made up 63% of the total market share. A likely explanation for this is that 47% of shoppers have paid more to have their packages delivered for the same day or next day delivery. These transactions would fall within the B2C market. 

2018 Courier Statistics: Room For Improvement

As you can imagine, courier services are also trying to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of package deliveries. In 2018, the three leading US couriers had the following package volumes:

Of these 13.5 billion shipments, over 11% were damaged or misdelivered. Due to these mishaps, retailers lost profit margins. In addition, customers were disappointed when their package arrived at their door. Thus, getting this percentage closer to zero is important for couriers going forward. 

Looking Into 2019: Some Notable Trends 

While 2019 is still underway, we have some initial statistics that give insight into package delivery trends of this year.

#1 Continued Increase in Shipping Volumes

As predicted, shipping volume continues to increase. If you found 2018’s numbers to be impressive, 2019 will blow your mind. According to Convoy’s 2019 Retail TouchPoints’ Report, there is a:

  • Decrease of “Light” Shippers: Retailers who ship fewer than 10% of their orders have dropped from 36% in 2018 to 16% in 2019. That’s a decrease of over 55%. 
  • Significant Increase of “Heavy Shippers”: Retailers who ship between 51% and 75% of their orders have increased from 7% in 2018 to 38% in 2019. That’s an increase of 385%! 

#2 Evolving Technology

With rising shipping volumes, delivery companies are having new technologies enter the game. The Convoy Report found that shippers are optimizing routes, utilizing drones and IoT sensors, adopting AI, and using RFID. They are also improving algorithms. 

While not all retailers are using these technologies yet, many are planning on it within the next year and a half. As of now:

  • 12% use algorithms, and 52% plan to
  • 11% use RFID, and 49% plan to
  • 9% use IoT sensors, and 50% plan to
  • 4% use autonomous cars, and 36% plan to 

Phone Calls Take Over Delivery Notifications

Interestingly, some tried and true technologies are falling out of favor with online retailers. Most notably, shipping notifications are moving away from email, tracking links, and text messages in favor of phone calls. 

In the past year, notifications using:

  • Email decreased from 86% to 57%.
  • Online tracking links decreased from 38% to 28%.
  • Text messages decreased from 33% to 22%.
  • Phone calls increased from 29% to 54%.

This goes to show that people want to know where their packages are, and when exactly they’re going to show up with the rest of their mail at their door. 

#3 More Returns Than Ever

As package deliveries are on the rise, so are returns. Therefore, as much as people like to shop for a product if people don’t like what they bought, back to the post office it goes. Convoy’s report shows that retailers with a return rate of:

  • Less than 10% has decreased from 61% in 2018 to 44% in 2019. 
  • More than 40% has increased from 0% in 2018 to 30% in 2019. 

With these staggering statistics, it’s understandable how “minimizing fraudulent returns” has surpassed “managing the cost of returns” as retailers’ top concern for 2019. Managing the prevalence of returns will surely become a focus for retailers in the future. 

Package Delivery: A Changing Industry

As you can see, these package delivery statistics tell a story. Shipping is increasing at warp speed. For those involved in the delivery process, whether they work straight from the shipping manufacture or at the postal service as a delivery person, new technologies are aiming to optimize for greater efficiency and accuracy. Unforeseen consequences are presenting themselves, like fraudulent returns and rising customer expectations. It will be interesting to see how parcel postal services change based on how retailers and shippers alike evolve in response to these new demands. Only time will tell, how parcel service will evolve within the new year. 

 

Sources:

Pitney Bowes. Parcel shipping reaches 87bn in volume globally, and will hit 200bn in 2025.

https://www.pitneybowes.com/us/shipping-index.html

Business Wire. Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index Reports Continued Growth Bolstered by China and Emerging Markets.

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191010005148/en/Pitney-Bowes-Parcel-Shipping-Index-Reports-Continued

Convoy. Last Mile Delivery: What Shoppers Want and How to #SaveRetail.

https://www.getconvey.com/resource/research-last-mile-delivery-save-retail/

Retail TouchPoints. Consumer Study: 63% Of Online Shoppers Expect Three-Day Delivery As Standard.

https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/trend-watch/consumer-study-63-of-online-shoppers-expect-three-day-delivery-as-standard

Retail TouchPoints. Benchmark Survey Report: Are You Winning The Last Mile Of Retail?

https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/special-reports/benchmark-survey-report-are-you-winning-the-last-mile-of-retail

Statista. Market share of same-day delivery services in the United States in 2018, by segment.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/720372/market-size-of-parcel-services-in-united-states-by-segment/

Dropoff. Consumers Want Faster Delivery and They’re Willing to Pay for It.

https://www.dropoff.com/blog/retail-delivery-consumer-survey-shoptalk-2018

UPS. UPS Fact Sheet.

https://pressroom.ups.com/pressroom/ContentDetailsViewer.page?ConceptType=FactSheets&id=1426321563187-193

USPS. Postal Facts.

https://facts.usps.com/total-shippingpackage-volume/

Statista. FedEx Ground’s total annual package volume 2016-2019.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/878581/fedex-ground-total-annual-package-volume/

Statista. Last mile delivery in North America – market size 2018-2022.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1040519/last-mile-delivery-market-size-north-america/

Convoy. Retail TouchPoints: Mapping Retail’s Last Mile Battleground.

https://www.getconvey.com/resource/retail-touchpoints-last-mile-solutions/