The U.S. Postal Service has just implemented a price adjustment on first class letter mail – the first rate increase in quite a few years. Some other pricing adjustments have been implemented as well, but on the whole they are modest.
Hopefully the rate increases won’t throw water on the good news that the USPS experienced over the holiday season. According to a Rasmussen Reports consumer survey of ~1,000 American adults age 18 and over conducted at the end of December, Americans used the USPS more in the most recent holiday than in the 2015 season.
The public also continues to give the USPS higher marks than its major competitors – FedEx and UPS – on the way it handles their packages.
For the record, ~21% of the respondents surveyed by Rasmussen reported that they used the U.S. Postal Service more this holiday season than they have in previous years, while ~18% reported they used it less. The remaining ~61% kept their USPS usage at around the same level of activity.
On the commercial side, for many businesses who do not have the kind of high volume shipping needs to qualify for special pricing from FedEx or UPS, the USPS also appears to be a far more lucrative choice from a price-to-value relationship.
In mid-2015, FitSmallBusiness.com undertook apple-to-apples comparisons of the three big package delivery firms, and found some startling differences. For example, to ship a 3-lb. package overnight-delivery from New York City to Los Angeles, using FedEx would set the sender back $83. UPS was even worse, at $84.
The USPS price? Just $24.99.
Comparing short-haul rates as well as heavier 10-lb. packages found similar major discrepancies — all in favor of using the U.S. Postal Service. On top of that, the USPS provides free packaging materials, complimentary pick-up service, free insurance and tracking — not to mention flat-rate boxes for packages that weigh up to 70 lbs.
Sealing the deal further, while FedEx’s 50,000+ and UPS’s 63,000+ locations worldwide are certainly nice to rely on, the number of USPS locations dwarfs those figures by a country mile. Those myriad USPS locations also mean that packages can be shipped to P.O. boxes in addition to physical addresses – something that’s out of the reach of either FedEx or UPS.
People love to beat up on the United States Postal Service. But say what you will about the USPS, its problems and its financial challenges, they’re still a major-league bargain for many consumers and businesses.