Mailing Services

In 2010, First-Class Mail and Standard Mail, which make up approximately 94% of volume and 77% of revenue, decreased approximately 5.5 billion pieces or 3.3% compared to last year, with an associated drop in revenue of $1,871 million, or 3.5%. Total Mailing Services revenue decreased $1,465 million, or 2.4%, with a corresponding volume decrease of 6.2 billion pieces, or 3.5%, compared to last year. Much of this decrease can be attributed to the continuing sluggish economy and the lingering effects of the recent recession. Beginning in Quarter II 2010, however, there was an increase in credit card direct mail solicitations, a hopeful sign that the economy is improving.

In 2010, revenue from First-Class Mail was $34,026 million, or 5.2% less than 2009, as volume decreased 5.6 billion pieces, or 6.6%, compared to last year. Single-piece First-Class letter and card revenue declined $1,022 million, or 7.4%, on a decrease of 3,098 million pieces, or 9.8%, compared to 2009. Revenue from presorted First-Class Mail, which consists largely of bills and statements, decreased by $304 million, or 1.9%, on a volume decrease of 1,662 million pieces, or 3.5%. Single-piece First-Class Mail volume, including correspondence, bills, remittances, confirmations, orders, and rebates, continues to decrease and has been in decline for over a decade. While price has some effect on First-Class Mail volume, we believe the sluggish economy and the continued migration of hard-copy mail from traditional postal services to soft-copy electronic media are the primary drivers behind the recent volume decline. The 2010 decreases in First-Class revenue were partially offset by $210 million earned for Census mailings, an event that occurs once a decade.

2010 Mail Volume

2010 mail volume shown as a pie chart

In 2009, First-Class Mail revenue decreased $2,296 million, or 6.0%, from 2008 revenue of $38,179 million. Volume decreased by 7.9 billion pieces, or 8.6%, in 2009. The 2009 revenue decrease occurred in spite of a 2009 price increase and the residual effect of the 2008 price increase. Single-piece First-Class letters and cards decreased by 3.7 billion pieces, or 10.4%, and presorted First-Class Mail decreased by 4.0 billion pieces, or 7.8%.

Volume First-Class and Standard Mail (pieces in millions)

volume shown as a bar chart

Standard Mail revenue decreased $14 million, or 0.1%, in 2010 compared to 2009, to $17,331 million, on a volume increase of 77 million pieces, or 0.1%. Standard Mail volume was significantly impacted by the decline in advertising spending as a result of the recent recession. Standard Mail letter volume increased 3.2%, or 1.5 billion pieces, while revenue increased $390 million, or 4.4%, in 2010 compared to 2009. The volume for Standard Mail flats fell 10.1%, or 788 million pieces, while revenue dropped $289 million, or 10.1%, in 2010 compared to last year. Standard Mail volume did begin to recover in the second half of 2010, increasing 7.0% as compared to the same six month period in 2009. The sustainability of this encouraging trend is somewhat dependent on continuation of the economic recovery.

In addition to the impact of the economy on Standard Mail revenue, advertisers continue to become more sophisticated in the targeting of their mailings, further reducing mail volume. However, we expect that advertising mail volume will increase as the economy strengthens, although the recovery is not expected to be rapid or robust nor will it return to previous levels.

In 2009, Standard Mail revenue decreased $3,241 million, or 15.7%, compared with 2008, on a volume decline of 16.6 billion pieces, or 16.8%, due to the severe effects of the recession in advertising. Standard Mail letter volume fell 10.3 billion pieces, or 18.0% as revenue declined $1,741 million, or 16.5%. The volume for Standard Mail flats fell 21.7%, or 2,174 million pieces, and the related revenue dropped $795 million, or 21.7%.

Periodicals revenue decreased $159 million, or 7.8%, from $2,038 million in 2009 to $1,879 million in 2010. Trends in reading behavior have depressed this segment for years. Periodicals volume decreased 632 million pieces, or 8.0%, from 7,901 million pieces in 2009 to 7,269 million pieces in 2010. The number of advertising pages seems to have steadied after years of decline, as the rate of decline from the prior year in the average weight per piece of Periodicals mailing was relatively flat in 2010, compared to a decline of 10.6% and 3.5% in 2009 and 2008, respectively.

Periodicals revenue and volume decreased by $257 million and 704 million pieces, or 11.2% and 8.2%, respectively, in 2009 from 2008.

Package Services revenue of $1,516 million in 2010 decreased $168 million, or 10.0%, compared to 2009. Volume decreased 73 million pieces, or 10.0%, in the same period. In 2009, Package Services revenue of $1,684 million in 2009 decreased $161 million, or 8.7%, compared to 2008 on volume declines of 115 million pieces, or 13.6%. Volume fell throughout the package industry, reflecting the overall condition of the economy.