Mail in countries with smaller economic markets is low. More than anything else, it is economic activity that determines the volume of mail. To be more viable, Posts must reach beyond postal. They must develop and offer new products and services.

Bhutan Post Office Headquarter

There are a number of variables that affect the success of a Post in a country with a smaller economic market. The variable that stands out as having a highest correlation to the volume of mail in such countries is the size of its economy and more precisely the GDP-PPP or Gross Domestic Product – Purchasing Power Parity.

In a 2006 World Bank Report entitled, “Questioning the Monopoly-Supported Postal USO in Developing Countries”, Charles Kenny wrote,”Overall demand for postal services is very closely correlated with the size of an economy. Smaller (poorer) economies see lower mail volumes (letters per capita). Countries with a GDP per capita (PPP) of below $1,000 see mail volumes of below 1 per person per year—compared with closer to 100 per person in countries with a GDP per capita of above $5,000“. Since then, we have seen continuous lettermail decline.

Impact of GDP-PPP on Mail Volume

A 2016 review of 20 CARICOM Caribbean members indicated that the volume of mail is directly correlated to the GDP-PPP. Countries with a GDP-PPP of under $2,000US had a volume of less that 1 pice of mail per person per year.

The 8 Key Determinants of Mail Volume in Developing Countries

  • GDP-PPP per capita
  • Population density
  • Proportion of the population who are potential or actual users of the letter post (economic activity, literacy level, number of international letter-post items received, population that has to come to the Post, etc.)
  • Size of the post office network
  • Price of the domestic letter-post service as part of purchasing power
  • Percentage / Number of Internet users
  • Percentage / Number of mobile telephones users
  • Degree of competition

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