Hundreds of millions of physical, electronic and financial transactions are conducted each day via postal networks worldwide, which constitute a vehicle for exchanges and economic development. Postal economics studies economic issues relating to these markets, analyzes supply and demand and trends, and compares the sectoral policies implemented in various countries.
New information and communication technologies, reform, the global economic and financial crisis and efforts to combat poverty all impact on the postal sector and need to be estimated and evaluated as a result. The economic situation of all countries, be they least developed, emerging or industrialized, is the subject of economic studies aimed at facilitating the sharing of costs, the fostering of partnerships, associations and network interconnectivity, and the development of truly global public assets.
Designated postal operators' infrastructure has diminished slightly in recent years. The number of post offices is estimated at 655,000 worldwide and the number of staff fluctuates at around 5.3 million, but the trend over the last three years points downwards.
Domestic letter-post volumes in 2018 were 10% less than in 2014. The share of letter post in total revenue has also dropped, although not at the same pace. Conversely, volumes of domestic parcels have increased by around 46% since 2014. As for international traffic during the same period, parcel post has almost doubled in volume, whereas letter post has decreased by 5%. International traffic, however, both for letters and parcels, represents only around 1% of the total volume.
Designated operators' revenue (in nominal terms) has increased by 4%, reaching 267 billion SDR in 2018.
A new report by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the UN specialized agency for postal matters, titled, “The COVID-19 crisis and the postal sector” shows postal volumes dropping by 21 percent in 2020. The steep decline is the largest seen by the UPU since it began recording exchanges of electronic data between its 192 member countries in 2010.