The global postal network: key figures

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

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

There are some 679,500 postal establishments in the world.

Letter-post services

Posts processed an estimated 327.4 billion letter-post items (323.9 billion domestic items; 3.46 billion international items) in 2014.

Between 2013 and 2014, domestic letter-post traffic went down 2.5%, while that of international mail went down 7.3%.

While there is a general decrease in global letter-post volumes, this service still accounts for the bulk of postal revenues (41.8% in 2014). Moreover, the average weight of letter-mail globally has increased by 31 per cent.

On a world average, each inhabitant receives 45.6 letter-post items a year.


Posts processed about 7.38 billion domestic parcels in 2014 —3.1% more items than in the previous year.

Traffic of international parcels in 2014 was 101 million items, 5.7% higher than the previous year. Items sent were also heavier, as tonnage grew by about 12% on 2013.

Global postal revenues

Global postal revenues reached 239 billion SDR (330 billion USD) in 2014, an increase of 2% in nominal terms over 2013, due partly to e-commerce.

Letters represented 41.8% of these revenues (roughly 138 billion USD), with letter-mail falling to 327.4 billion items.

Postal financial services generated 17.1% of revenues (56.4 billion USD), up from 14.5% in 2013.

19.1% of revenues (63 billion USD) came from parcels and logistic services, compared to 18.6% of revenues in 2013.

Other sources of revenue accounted for 22% of global postal revenues. These include services such as electronic postal services and the sale of retail articles.

Mail delivery

85.6% of the world’s population receives its mail directly at home.

11.3% of the world’s inhabitants must go to a postal establishment to collect their mail.

An estimated 3.1% of the world’s inhabitants do not have access to postal services.

Source: UPU, Development of postal services in 2014.