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Domestic letter-post items have continued their decline in global volumes, falling on average by 3.4% in 2016. By contrast, domestic parcel items have been growing steadily (global increase by 12.5% between 2015 and 2016) but not everywhere. Although it still accounts for less than 1.5% of global volumes, international traffic continues to increase, both for letter-post (up by 1.7% in the past year) and parcel-post (up by 4.5% last year, after growing by an average of over 8% in 2011-2014).

The aggregated real revenues of designated operators have grown modestly over the past decade, at an average of nearly 2% per year. This is much lower than the rate of global GDP growth over the same period, which has averaged 3.4%, evidencing a trend of "postal-GDP decoupling".

The number of permanent post offices was estimated at 677'347 in 2016, more than half of which in Asia-Pacific. Yet, the trend to outsourcing of these establishments has been increasing, especially in industrialized countries (IC).

To service the existing network, designated operators still employ over 5.3 million staff, a slight decrease compared to previous years.

Postal economic outlook 2018

Key transformations affecting the sector.