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USPS Sees Decline in Shipping and Package Volume

USPS
USPS Sees Decline in Shipping and Package Volume

The US Postal Service reported revenue of $17.1 billion in its 3rd fiscal quarter (April 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019), essentially unchanged compared to the same quarter last year, while it experienced a net loss of nearly $2.3 billion.

And while it was no surprise that the volume of letter mail continued to decline, what was particularly noteworthy was the decline of shipping and packages volume. GovExec.com noted it was the first quarterly volume decline for packages in nine years, citing USPS Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett.

“Shipping and Packages revenue increased by $250 million, or 4.8 percent, despite a volume decline of 47 million pieces, or 3.2 percent, compared to the same quarter last year,” the USPS reported on Friday.

Logically, that indicates shippers are paying more per package – something online sellers can relate to as all major shipping carriers raise rates at least once a year. And toward the end of the quarter, the USPS instituted DIM weight rate changes, so that ratio could see a further spike in the next quarterly release.

One consultant speculated via Twitter that the USPS might raise rates aggressively early next year. That kind of reaction would just add to the trend, likely lowering shipping and package volume as online sellers look for alternatives while those who remain with the service pay higher rates.

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Adding insult to injury, many marketplaces charge sellers fees on shipping costs, even as large retailers are training consumers to expect orders to come with “free” shipping.

You can find the USPS press release announcing its quarterly results on the USPS website. Here’s an overview chart included in the release:

USPS Fiscal Q3 2019 results
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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

4 thoughts on “USPS Sees Decline in Shipping and Package Volume”

  1. The USPS sends us 300 flat rate priority mail envelopes each month. This month we cut it back to 100 and next month probably 25 or so. We have taken anything we sell that used to go into one of those envelopes to the weekend swap meets and sold them for whatever we could get. Now thats 200 less packages we send each month.. How many other sellers are now not mailing packages anymore. We have a saying in our business. ” If it doesn’t weigh less than 10 oz we don’t want it.” Next month the new saying will be if we can’t send it in an envelop for 55 cents or as a first class flat rate envelope it goes to the swap meet. By October we will be down to anything that will go first class flat or less. Screw the post office. They want to give China free ride so be it but done depend on us to support your decisions.

    Go Amazon

  2. Agree!!! Selling locally is getting more and more lucrative. We use FB, Craigslist, Offer Up. and LetGo. We still ship First Class Parcels. It is ridiculous, It cost more to send a 4oz. parcel within our same zip code, then a seller located in China, pays to ship the USA.

  3. I’m very confused by the comment whosaidwhat.. 1728 cubic inches and under.. nothing changed. The hype about dim weight may have skewed the numbers. Hopefully people get back on bored. USPS is still the most reliable, well insured thing out there.

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