The global postal network

A few key figures from the UPU’s 2010 statistics

The postal network constitutes the largest physical distribution network in the world.

5.4 million people are employed by the world’s postal services.

There are some 670,000 postal establishments in the world.

Letter-post services

Posts processed an estimated 381 billion letter-post items (376 billion domestic items; 4.8 billion international items) in 2010.

Between 2001 and 2010, domestic letter-post traffic has gone down 13%, while that of international mail has gone down 31%.

While there is a general decrease in global letter-post volumes, this service still accounts for the bulk of postal revenues (46% in 2010).

Not all countries are seeing a decline in letter-post volumes; some countries with emerging economies are seeing letter-post volume increases.

On a world average, each inhabitant receives 55.6 letter-post items a year.


Posts processed 6.1 billion domestic parcels in 2010, that’s 30% more items than in 2001 (4.7 billion items).

Traffic of international parcels in 2010 was 43.6 million items. This figure has remained relatively stable over the past 10 years.

Global postal revenues

Global postal revenues were 331 billion USD in 2010.

Letter-post represented 46% of these revenues, compared to 54% in 2001.

17.3% of revenues came from postal financial services, 3.8% more than ten years before.

15.7% of revenues came from parcels and logistic services, which accounted for only 7.7% of revenues in 2001.

Revenues from sources other than letter post, parcels and logistic services and postal financial services accounted for 21% of global postal revenues. These include services such as electronic postal services and the sale of retail articles.

Mail delivery

82% of the world’s population receives its mail directly at home.

14% of the world’s inhabitants must go to a postal establishment to collect their mail.

An estimated 4% of the world’s inhabitants, or 300 million citizens, do not have access to postal services.