CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
May 22, 2019
Forward Thinking

Millennials: No difference in trust, value between parcel delivery firms

Survey of age group finds that trusting a provider not to lose a package is key factor in carrier selection.

U.S. Consumers in the 18-to-34 age group known as "millennials" said there is no difference between the various major parcel delivery providers in the trust and value they deliver, according to a survey published yesterday by the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The survey, entitled "Millennials and the Mail," found that of 17 factors that would go into choosing a delivery company, the most important was trusting the provider that a package won't get lost. That was followed by the price of the shipment, and delivering on schedule.

Millennials believed that USPS has more conveniently located retail outlets than its rivals, according to the survey. However, only 56 percent of respondents said they would go to a brick-and-mortar post office to send a package. By contrast, 66 percent of "Generation X" consumers, those born between 1965 and 1984, and 77 percent of "baby boomers," those born between 1949 and 1964, said they were more likely to send a package from a physical post office.

"If more millennials are seeking out alternative ways to send packages, improving awareness and convenience of all available options—such as scheduling a package pickup by a carrier—is essential," the OIG said in its findings.

The survey hinted that they preferred using USPS for sending and receiving small packages but may be more likely to use a competitor for larger packages. The OIG staff did not provide size and dimensional information to distinguish between large and small packages.

Gauging Millennials' attitudes towards USPS is critical to the quasi-governmental agency because the group has come of age amid a secular decline in USPS' core first-class mail service, as well as a corresponding boom in e-commerce demand, which has sparked a surge in business-to-consumer delivery services across the board.

USPS' parcel delivery business continues to grow in revenue and volume as first-class mail has declined. However, parcel services will likely never match the profit margins of first class mail because of the higher labor and processing costs of handling parcels.

The OIG survey was conducted in three phases. The first, conducted in the summer of 2017, reviewed 3,391 respondents across multiple age groups. In February, OIG moderated an online discussion board populated by 69 millennial respondents. In April, 2,447 millennials were engaged to discuss the issues and ideas that had been raised during the first and second phases.

The survey comes 11 days before a presidential task force on postal reform is expected to submit its recommendations to President Trump.

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