The Key Findings report provides a distillation of data and analysis included in the IPC Global Postal Industry Report, a member-only publication analysing 50 postal operators worldwide and published in November each year. Highlights from the Key Findings report are shown below.

Download the 2021 IPC Global Postal Industry Report Key Findings report here.


Posts sustain growth in 2020 but average EBIT margin suffered from the crisis

On aggregate, total postal industry revenue reached €442.6bn in 2020, up €20.5bn on 2019 results. Parcels and express remained the engine of postal growth, up €19.3bn. The postal industry continued to sustain growth in 2020, mainly through increased e-commerce volumes: revenue increased 1.4% on average, down from 5.5% a year earlier. But social distancing and other pandemic-related challenges pressured profitability: the average EBIT margin fell to -0.9% for the year, driven by large operating losses for several posts.

Parcels volume and revenue reach record high levels

With lockdowns driving up demand for B2C delivery worldwide, parcels volume growth accelerated to 15.3% on average in 2020. Most posts reported growth rates well above 10% for the year, while others, particularly those in emerging markets, saw parcel volumes fall as delivery operations were hampered by the pandemic. Meanwhile, many posts report increasing competition in their domestic parcel markets. Parcels revenue was up 21.0% on average and parcels now represent the majority of total revenue for some operators. 


COVID-19 further accelerated mail decline

As government-imposed lockdowns shuttered all but essential stores, closed national borders and shifted economic activity into reverse, total mail volume fell sharply in 2020. The average decline in mail volume accelerated to 15.9% in 2020, more than twice as fast as in 2019. Most posts delivered fewer items than in the previous year. The decline in mail revenue accelerated to 4.9% on average while the average mail EBIT margin shrank to 1.1% in 2020. But amid a crisis, ongoing efficiency initiatives helped many posts control costs: while more than three quarters of posts saw revenue decline, more than half saw their mail divisions generate a profit.


In line with overall economic recovery, the postal industry renews with strong growth in 2021


More than 18 months into the pandemic, the industry outlook looks promising. On average, and across the subset of posts that publish interim reports, group revenue was up 10.4% year on year and margins rose to 4.2% in the first half of 2021. Mail divisions regained some lost ground: mail volume grew 2.5% on average, driving up revenue and margins. And the sustained uplift in e-commerce bolstered parcel operations: parcel volumes grew strongly and both revenue and profitability improved in the period.


Want to know more? The full version of the IPC Global Postal Industry Report 2021 includes over 140 pages of industry and operator analyses. The report is available to IPC members for free, and is also available for purchase by non-members. A full table of contents, as well as further details on how to purchase the report, are available here.

postal industry revenue
percent revenue growth
growth in parcel volumes