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UK has most Parcels per person in the world

By Chris Dawson October 4, 2021 - 9:00 am

The UK has overtaken Japan to claim the country that ships the most parcels per person in 2020 according to statistics from the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index.

The pandemic effect is clear to see for the UK with 160 parcels generated every second, or 14 million each day. Parcel volume grew 33%, year-over-year, reaching 5 billion – up from 3.8 billion in 2019. Parcels per person rose to 74, an increase from 56 in 2019. This is against a worldwide backdrop of 34 parcels per person, on average across all countries.

All major carriers in the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index reported revenue and volume growth in 2020. The UK saw the highest increase in carrier revenue of all 13 countries in the Index, up 37% to $22.2 billion. Revenue per parcel increased for the first time since 2016, reaching to $4.4.

The parcels per person numbers are very interesting for ecommerce merchants when deciding which countries should be highest on their hit list for launching in. While traditionally online retailers target English speaking countries for ease of translation and then neighbouring countries for easy of shipping (typically Europe for UK merchants and Canada for US merchants), there could be much greater prizes for those who ship to countries more engaged with deliveries.

The top five countries for parcels per person in order are the UK, Japan, the US, China, and Germany with Canada and Australia coming in 6th and 7th respectively. France and Italy are often target countries that UK merchants market to but they languish in 8th and 9th places barely beating the likes of Norway and Sweden for the number of deliveries per person.

There should be no real surprise that the US and China are in the two top spots, as the two countries with the largest populations in the developed world. In reality the UK (population approx 67.22m) and Japan (125.8m) are tiny compared to China (1.402b) and the US (329.5). With the UK punching so hard in ecommerce terms compared to it’s size, it’s no surprise that so many overseas sellers target UK marketplaces to sell on.

Perhaps the real surprise is that relatively few Western ecommerce merchants make the effort to overcome the logistical, cultural, and bureaucratic hurdles to target Japanese buyers as until the pandemic hit they had the top number of parcels per person in the world.

  • Andrew Moss
    2 months ago

    Think you’re a bit off on the population of Japan!

  • 2 months ago

    Thanks Andrew, typo corrected

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