China’s Parcel Shipping Volume More Than 3X U.S. In 2017

The number of parcels shipped globally grew 17% in 2017 to 74.4 billion parcels, and China was the main growth driver: its parcel volume increased 28% year-over-year. China’s parcel volume of 40.1 billion packages is more than 3X that of its nearest competitor, the U.S., which shipped 11.9 billion parcels.

Parcel shipping overall generated $279 billion in 2017, according to the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index, an 11% increase over 2016. The Index contains shipping-related insights across 13 countries representing 3.7 billion people: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the U.S.

China’s parcel shipments represent 53% of total shipments, but the U.S. ranks highest in parcel shipping revenue; its $107 billion represents 38% of the total revenue from the 13 countries surveyed. That’s largely because parcel shipping costs in the U.S. are much higher than in the rest of the world. The average shipping price of a parcel is:


• $8.95 in the U.S.;
• $2.64 in Japan; and
• $1.83 in China.

Other key trends highlighted in the report include:

Same-Day Delivery: The popularity of same-day delivery services has created a battleground for carriers such as FedEx and DHL; major retailers including Target and Walmart; and startups like Uber and Shipt, all facing competitive pressures from Amazon Prime Now.

New Delivery Technologies: Major international retailers including and Alibaba are making significant investments in drones and driverless vehicles for last-mile parcel deliveries.

Market Shares Continuing To Shift: The U.S. Postal Service has proven the shipping industry is ripe for competition; it has gained 11 points of market share in the past five years, at the expense of FedEx and UPS.

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