‘Futurist’ Predicts End of Direct Mail, USPS Official Tells Congress
In 30 years, "there will be no paper" a "futurist" told the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors a couple years ago, Board Chairman Mickey D. Barnett told the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
During Barnett's statement on Wednesday to the body considering his nomination to serve another term, he adds USPS needs to shift away from its most profitable product, First Class mail, to what's fast becoming its most profitable service, package delivery. While he didn't claim the futurist's predictions were correct, Barnett says the USPS needs to be ready for a future with no mail.
"The erosion of First-Class mail volumes is being driven by rapid changes in the way Americans communicate," Barnett says. "Smartphones, texting, email and the Internet were unheard of only a few short years ago. But today, they are the primary way most individuals interconnect.
"But, as First-Class mail has declined, the U.S. Postal Service's package revenues are growing more than 10 percent compared to last year, and advertising mail revenues are relatively steady," he continues. "However, to fully leverage the package revenue opportunities and remain competitive, the Postal Service will need to invest billions of dollars in new delivery vehicles, infrastructure and new package sorting equipment in the near future."
USPS is delivering packages for Amazon on Sundays, groceries for AmazonFresh in San Francisco, and performing last-mile services for FedEx and UPS, among other initiatives. This, as FedEx Express, FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home rates are slated to increase 4.9 percent on Jan. 5. Dimensional weight increases for FedEx Ground deliveries happen on the same day. "FedEx SmartPost rates will also change," according to the company's Tuesday announcement.