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.
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: