Postal Volume Plummets Despite Surge In Ecommerce: Marketing Mail Takes A Hit

The U.S. Postal Service reported fourth-quarter 2020 revenue and service volume Tuesday, reflecting the end of a year of turbulence -- both pandemic and political -- including its impact on marketing.

While the report did not offer explanations for the shifts, the bottom line was a pronounced decline in media-related revenues -- both marketing mail and periodicals -- although commerce-related shipping services soared.

The decline in marketing mail -- 5.6% in revenue and -3.9% in volume -- is significant, given that the fourth quarter of 2020 included what would normally be an exception period of political direct-mail marketing, in what otherwise was a banner year for political media and marketing spending.

The postal service, of course, was the subject of its own politics, as the previous administration took actions to reduce the service's delivery speed and volume amid a surge in mail-in balloting for the Presidential election, although its impact on the overall postal service is now abundantly clear: total mail volume fell 3.2% despite a 25% increase in shipping volume, which likely was related to increased ecommerce delivery during the pandemic.



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