Mark Twain undoubtedly used the mail during his lifetime – probably frequently and routinely. So, it seems fitting to point out that reports of the death of First Class Mail have been greatly exaggerated. While we are awaiting the year-end report for 2018, for 2017, First Class still accounted for 36% of USPS revenues – more than $25 billion and substantially higher than any other category, including packages and e-commerce — and around 58 billion pieces of mail. First Class remains a vital category of mail for the health of the postal system, as well as for individuals and businesses.
There are pressures upon the class that has it eroding at 2 – 4% per year. This particularly includes the growing acceptability to businesses of online communications for commercial and legal purposes. Similar trends have lured many individual mailers online for personal communications and business.
Nonetheless, in the face of that, First Class is still holding. The center has not dropped out of the category. It remains valued and desired by millions of businesses and individuals around the country. It offers a way to safeguard personal information (USPS has its own police force: the Inspection Service) by communicating on paper, and carries a very trusted brand. Moreover, it’s associated with letter carriers, who are often beloved in their delivery neighborhoods.
So, while the erosion of First Class continues, it remains indispensable to USPS and maintaining the system that serves Americans everywhere, every day, at an affordable price.