An Inside Look at How the Pandemic Has Impacted Direct Mail & Shipping

The pandemic has affected nearly every aspect and sector of life, and the direct mail and shipping industry is no exception. Changes in shipping timeframes and other expectations have forced businesses to develop creative solutions to protect their bottom line in these usual times and lead to some quick fixes that may be here to stay. 

Read on for an inside look into the most impactful pandemic-induced direct mail and shipping changes. 

Consumers are looking for touchless mail solutions

A worldwide pandemic that quickly spreads from person to person can make someone reluctant to interact with others. For many people, a digital mailbox is a perfect solution to receiving and viewing mail while limiting contact with other people.

Digital mailboxes direct a customer’s mail to another location where a staff member scans and uploads mail received. The customer can then view their mail using an app on their computer or mobile device without risking contamination and infection. 

A series of unfortunate events for the USPS

While consumers are looking for a more hands-off approach to mail, the United States Postal Service is dealing with significant struggles of its own. In the pandemic’s early days in 2020, the USPS faced record package deliveries while employee absences dramatically increased due to the virus. 

The expense of personal protective equipment was also a requirement for healthy employees remaining on-site, driving up costs when mail and letter delivery levels are down. According to figures from the Government Accountability Office, total mail volume was off by 9% in 2020 compared with the numbers from 2019. 

Direct mail marketing delivery is down almost across the board from pre-pandemic levels. However, virtual services, like retail, grocery, and education, increased. 

The pandemic and Europe’s Royal Mail service

Royal Mail services in the UK and other parts of Europe are eerily similar to those experienced in the United States, increasing package volume. At the same time, a high percentage of the workforce cannot function at the same pace as before.

However, in the UK, cancellations and delays in shipping lead to concerns loss of coveted vaccination invitations received in the mail. Britain has taken the proactive step of notifying residents in several districts to expect mail and shipping delays. 

International shipping and its pandemic issues

The pandemic’s impact on international shipping is similar to the effects felt by the USPS. As the world’s largest exporter of consumer goods since 2009, China’s shipping industry is precarious, leading to a global crisis in several areas. 

Worldwide demand for Chinese-made goods dropped sharply in 2020, which significantly impacted the Chinese shipping industry, snowballing into other countries. Since China has a massive impact on this industry, any crisis in this sector can negatively affect shipping processes on a global level. 

Wrap up

As conditions continue to change with the pandemic, it may be some time before society is back to business as usual. To stay afloat, companies must adapt how they reach and deliver goods and services to their customers to survive. 


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