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Blog > When are postcards registered?

For the second post in this series about Postcrossing’s statistics, we wanted to find out when does more postcard registering activity happen on the project. Intuitively, we know most postcrossers probably register their postcards later in the day, when they’re back home after work or school… but when exactly? And in which day of the week is most mail delivered?

To find out, Paulo chose all the postcards registered last year, adjusted their registering times to each recipient’s local timezone and then compiled the numbers, putting them together in a graph. Here is the result, showing the total number of postcards registered in each day of the week in 2017:

Postcards registered per day

As one would imagine, many more postcards are registered between Monday and Friday than on weekends. Wednesday wins by a narrow margin, with a total of almost 900,000 postcards registered! Tuesday comes as a close second, while Monday is remarkably quiet in comparison. This is to be expected though, as many postal operators stop working during the weekend, and mail is only processed after they reopen.

Predictably, Sunday is the slowest day in Postcrossing, with a total of less than half a million postcards registered. As a curiosity, did you know that 2017 had 53 Sundays and just 52 of the each of the other days? Since there are 365 days in a year, there’s always an extra day to account for… but even with that extra Sunday, things were still quiet on the last day of the weekend.

Since we had our hands in the data, we decided to find out how these totals were distributed throughout the day! To do this, we summed the number of postcards registered in each hour of each day for the whole year, and then plotted this heatmap:

Postcards registered per hour

It’s easy to spot the red frenzy of activity, right? Despite Wednesday generally being the day with the highest number of registered postcards, the registering peak actually happened on Tuesday nights last year, with a cumulative total of 75,155 postcards registered between 8 and 9pm.

In contrast, the slowest time in Postcrossing in the whole year was on Mondays between 4 and 5am, with less than 1000 postcards registered in those early Monday hours throughout the whole year.

Do these statistics reflect your experience too, or were you perhaps surprised by them? Let us know in the comments!


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74 comments so far

Broe, Germany
Super interesting, nicely commented and really pretty to look at!
Only knowing how my way is with registering postcards I would say I am not surprised - this kind of reflects my way of registering postcards :)

Jangalene, Netherlands
On Monday no mail delivery in the Netherlands

Sfander, Canada
How very interesting and yes, I would have to agree with the findings. Mondays are very slow here with the mail and I never thought about the reason why before and you explained it...thank you.

AlexM087, Russia
A bit surprising! I thought the majority of postcards would be registered during weekends when people usually have more time. Thank you for yet another curious piece of data!

Dyshes, Russia
Wow! It's Interesting surprise! Our mail mainly brings on Wednesday and Friday. And of course, after a hard day, I want to cheer up a bit by registering a postcard!

Tranchile, Guernsey
We get most mail on Monday from the UK and no post comes into the Island or gets delivered at the weekend here. I am retired so I try and do all mine before I have my evening meal so it tends to be mid-late afternoon. I like stats like this as sometimes it can surprise you. I have just registered a big pile!

lydacher, United States of America
I've always assumed that weekdays would generate more registrations than the weekends, because people who don't have computers at home would register cards at work. However, people using mobile devices wouldn't have this problem.

siebe1, Belgium
Those data are very intresting to know about our postcards. That is the way how I look to it. Like AlexM087 already wrote, thank you for the piece of data.

mounten, Italy
In northern Italy mail comes in every day exept on Sunday. I agree Wednesday is the best day of the week to get mail, I don't know why. This data is very interesting thank you!

chrissybaby, Ireland
Interesting statistics - we get mail in Ireland from Monday to Friday. But I noticed that most of the mail is delivered on Tuesday and Wednesday. I send most of my mail on Monday as I have more time on a weekend. My cards are registered the same day most of the time.

LuSays, United Kingdom
I LOVE all these statistics and some of the hypothesis put forward for the data spread!

I think I was responsible for some of the postcards registered at silly o'clock on a weekend. When we come back from a trip away I like to register postcards right away as I know someone will be keenly waiting to see how much I liked their postcard! I wonder if airmail gets delivered into the country on a Monday after sitting in a mailbag all weekend, so it gets through the sorting system on the Wednesday morning?

Wish we could tack individual postcards and know how long they stand at each sorting office along their journey...
Thank you for this data really fascinating!

Marghit, Austria
Thank you for the great statistics!
It confirms my guess for Wednesdays. When I write postcards on weekends (which is my favourite time for writing postcards), I throw them into the mailbox at the weekend or take them to the post office on Mondays. When these cards are sent to Germany or other "fast" countries within Europe, they are often already registered on Wednesdays.

Tufta, Poland
Thought there would be no significant differences when it comes to hours as if there is 12am in Poland it's barely 3pm in California and about 7am in Australia so there will always be a mailman delivering postcard somewhere in the world.

meiadeleite, Portugal
@Tufta This dataset is adjusted to the local timezones, so that we can make calculations for the same hours. When we say that about 1000 postcards were registered on Mondays between 4 and 5am, that's the sum of all the postcards registered in each Monday of 2017 between 4 and 5am in Poland, plus the ones registered one hour later in Portugal (when the clocks there turn 4am), and so on, as the hours go by the different timezones. 😊

Though you're probably right... there's probably always a mail carrier delivering postcards somewhere!

JulieMary, Canada
Awww, I love this. Statistics make me happy!
Now I'm thinking when I register mine... I don't think I have a set time. I do it when I have time to spare in front of my computer with my scanner.
Thank you for this, I enjoyed it!

deniputuje, Serbia
I love Tuesday evening because at that time I always receive some postcarad :) In Serbia the mail is delivered twice a week,I suppose Tuesday and Thursday :)

Can't wait tomorrow!

ColorfulCourtney, Germany
Very interesting!

Technically, we get mail every day except Sunday, but in reality normal mail comes on Mondays and Saturdays only if we are also getting a package delivered. I do not know if that is common in Germany or only because we live in a smaller town.

I would be interested to see a similar statistics blog post about when postcards are sent!

PilotOne, Portugal
The above charts reflect my experience about the days of the week in which I use to register the majority of my postcards, so they don't surprise me.
Good job, Paulo!

relvita, United Kingdom
Great analysis! :) Do you have the data of when people request to send a postcard? Would be interesting to overlap with this and see if there's also a peak around Tuesday/ Thursday evening or if people delay it until a time they have more free time (e.g. weekend).

nm_rockhound, United States of America
I can't speak for most Americans but I believe the bulk of the mail comes on Mondays due to weekend holdover. The USPS carriers do deliver on Sundays but only for orders.

ned44440, Ireland
Love the stats. I always endeavour to register received postcards on the day received but it does tend to be later in the day due to work and other responsibilities. I am currently in the middle of registering the 10 beautiful cards I received today.
Incidentally, I tend to sort my received cards in alphabetical and then numerical order before I register them. Don't know why - just the way I operate.

rockypyrite4893, United States of America
I love those stats. That's so cool how Wed. is the most active mailing day!

surfclub66, United States of America
I generally receive and register the most cards on Monday. Monday my mailbox is stuffed with everything you can think of. Today I had postcards, Amazon packages, JCrew clothes for my kids and personal letters. It was great. Lol. Tuesday we only get bills and junk mail. It is just the way it is sorted. The rest of the week could be anything. Lol.

SunflowerLover, United States of America
I usually request addresses in mid-afternoon. Then I take them to the post office and on the way back, go to my mailbox. If I get postcards that day, I usually register them right away. I love when we all get "Hurrays" in our email. The slow day for mail in the USA is on Tuesdays. But postcards can show up any day of the week....HURRAY!

flyboyfl, New Zealand
Very interesting. I've noticed that my postcards tend to arrive in "bunches"; sometimes 5 at a time, often on a Monday. I'm guessing that they arrive at the NZ Post Auckland International Mail Service Centre and are released for domestic delivery in "batches". But that's only a guess.

leaflets, China
In my city, those postcards from aboard will be gathered so that 'someone' can translate the address into Chinese. That's why my postcards always come together.

Darcey1, South Africa

PMaki2017, Finland
Tuesdays there is no letter / postcard delivery in Finland. And of course not on Saturdays or Sundays either.

AliJawad99, Pakistan
Wonderful analysis and even better the presentation. I am in harmony with these stats.

olly93karma, Israel
In Israel Sunday is a work day, so I do sometimes receive cards on Sunday. On Fridays the post offices are open, but there is no mail delivery, and on Saturday all the post offices are closed.

Thanks for the interesting stats, a pleasure to read as ever!

dictaudrey, Indonesia
In Indonesia (at least in my city) mails are delivered everyday except Sunday; so I always check my mailbox the same matter. I noticed that Saturday is the day that I got postcards the most (3 in average) and the other days I might got 1-2 postcards. I usually registered my cards on 3-4pm so I'm not surprised about the time spread.

thanks for the interesting stats!

Jacque53, United States of America
Wow....what interesting info from everyone that has responded so far! I tend to get my postcards in batches, and more often than not, it will be a Monday and a Wednesday. I do get postcards though on all days, except Sunday, when their is no delivery in the USA (except like someone else said, the USPS will deliver on Sunday for Amazon packages). Good job Paolo for these great statistics!

xmyrxn, Germany
Great work ! Esp. adjusting the time zones surely wasn't easy !

MagiaHobbs, Germany
Very interesting!
My registration of postcards change slithly recently. I never used to get mail on Mondays for more than 2 decades, until recently, when the postman changed.

Olgao01, Russia
Very interesting statistics! My post office does not deliver mail to homes on Sunday and Monday. Indeed, most often I get my catch from the mail box on Wednesday and Thursday) Statistics can not be fooled)))

NIDUSKA, Finland
nice to know

Knerq, United States of America
Very cool! I love the graphics. Thanks for putting this together for us!

Flippie, Canada
Hi, living on an Island, I never know how long it takes when my cards arrived to you. Sometimes in 4 days, sometimes in 3 weeks on the same destination. Life is full surprises, even with mail!

Merle13, Germany
I just registered a postcard on Wednesday around six pm... So I am not surprised by the data! The time of sending a postcard must be pretty similar.

loving6thgrade, United States of America
Our mail route changed so that on Mondays (Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday) our mail doesn't even come until 6:30 or 7 at night. Other days between 4 and 5 pm. All our mail is processed through Houston (2 1/2 hours away) so the local post office can't distribute mail until the truck arrives from Houston and is sorted out. I usually register my cards as soon as they come, but on late deliveries sometimes not until the next morning. Most of my cards come on Monday or Tuesday usually. Thanks for all the statistics - how about something on the longest traveled cards that were actually received?

Glenbir, New Zealand
I also get my mail in batches as flyboyfl mentioned earlier, I am sure they sit somewhere waiting for a few days before being delivered. I tend to do most of my sending and requesting either early morning or late at night. Thank you for the tables. Glenis

Saaar, Netherlands
So, when do people request An address. That would be Interesting for me as well. For me Personally IT is in the weekend And also in the mornings And not evenings

Mapsooo, Iceland
Interesting statics but my experience is that most of the postcards seam to be registered from monday - thursday, we used to get mail monday - friday but now we get mail second each day (monday - friday) in Iceland.

thibcabe, Switzerland
In Switzerland, mail is delivered Monday to Saturday (cards, bills, ...). Usually, 1-2 cards per day, a bit more on Saturdays. For sending cards, mailboxes are emptied Sunday (around 2 pm) and Monday - Friday (around 6 pm). I write almost all the card on Saturdays and Sundays so I think it's good the mailbox is emptied Sundays too. And then, domestic mail can be delivered on Mondays !

Loli-ts, Spain
I use to register my postcards on the afternoonf of the day when I get them. Anyways, as the Earth spins, there's always a "hot day" and "red hour" somewhere on it ,-)

ydnic, United States of America
In the U.S, the availability of Informed Delivery now allows me to register my cards in the morning, when I get the E-mail scans of mail that will arrive later. I think that will change the stats over time.

Edmonds, United States of America
My mail is delivered between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. as a rule and I can't say I get more mail on one day or another. But I try to register what I get right away. Now I'll be charting how many p/c I get each day for awhile. What a fun event Postcrossing peeps (staff and participants alike). Thanks for all the joy you bring into my life. Love and blessings always ~~

SunflowerLover, United States of America
Might it be possible for Postcrossing to make up a page for each country and what days their mail is delivered? That would be cool to see that! I love looking at all these stats and learning that mail is not delivered every day (except Sundays) in other countries.

Mosshumla, Sweden
My best post day by far is Monday. As the Swedish Post doesn't deliver on Saturdays and Sundays, I receive three days worth of post on Mondays.

kimmedims, Netherlands
Great statistics! Would love to see similar statistics about the moment of requesting :-)

AilaMulari, Finland
I registered always directly in the same day. I became most on Wednesday. Our post goes not on Tuesday ( of course not on Saturday and Sunday!).

Froukjeb, Germany
And here I am registering my cards on a wednesday evening at 8 p.m., how predictable :-D

MerlinM, Germany
Thank you for the great work on statistics. Though in general in Germany is delivered Monday till Saturday there some areas in which German Post service do only deliver three days a week. They want to find out if that would be OK for the people and would reduce the costs for the company. A colleague of mine lives in the fifth floor in Berlin and is not allowed to put a mailbox next to the entrance door. Her post officer collects all the mail and deliver only once a week. I guess because there is no elevator in that building.

Copper, Finland
I would guess most people sit down around 18:00-20:00 after work, dinner and home chores to relax, read their mail and register postcards. So to me the heat map is quite predictable. I like to register the cards on the same day I get them, so weekends are quiet, no mail carried.

Iside82, Italy
Very interesting! In my city mail is delivered Monday-Friday, but it's more common for me to receive postcards on Tuesday and Wednesday than on Mondays

P-star, Australia
There is no mail delivery in Australia on Saturdays and Mondays, the mail is often delivered in the late afternoon here, maybe around 4 pm. The other days, my mail is being delivered around 10-11 am. I do get most of my mail on Mondays, too.

bungaalangalang, Indonesia
I register the postcards that I've received on Monday because that day is my schedule to post office. That day I'll send the postcards that I requested on Friday and take the postcards I received from my PO Box. Then I register it through my computer in my office usually before noon to be exact. Haha >_<

bungaalangalang, Indonesia
Oh wait, Monday noon in Indonesia is still Sunday in postcrossing time, isn't it?

pucky, Netherlands
As written before, there is no delivery on sunday and monday in Holland. My postwoman told me I am almost the only one to have some mail ( postcards!) on wednesday, that seems to be a very low day at least in my place.They even think about skipping maildelivery then. I register the day I receive the cards, mostly in the evening, sitting quiet to read and respond in the registration-mail and eventually scan the card(s).
As for requesting addresses, I notice some times I get them easily in a row with following numbers, other moments they take a little while and I miss numbers in between, so I guess others are requesting at the same time. Interesting!

BloomingTwig, United States of America
Interesting! Monday is usually the biggest mail day here and not much on Tuesday, but I can see how a lack of Monday delivery in some countries would lower the numbers then.

Isabella1978, Netherlands
I usually register my cards in the morning because I do it at the office. It's more convenient to type on a real computer than on my mobile.

Tengaar, Singapore
Now I feel guilty for collecting cards to register them on the weekends! We usually return home from school/work late and have difficulties writing a genuine thank you message at the end of a long day.

Amanda5417, Australia
I'm probably one of those odd ducks that register postcards on the weekend sometimes. We don't go into town every day of the week so we don't get the mail every day. Sometimes we only end up going in to get the mail on weekends (often on the way to somewhere else, but... "we haven't picked up the mail in a while so we'd better make a little detour..."). They also tend to arrive in batches of two to six or so it's pretty rare I only get one postcard in the mail, it's either none or several.
One thing I have noticed about my personal statistics is that after an initial, and constant, rise in both sent and received cards the months tended to alternate between "Lots Received, Few Sent" and "Lots Sent, Few Received" with the occasional undecided wibble before returning to the overall see-saw. Has anyone else had this happen?

TrishaRenee, United States of America
This is interesting and pretty much what I expected. Love the heat map! I actually do stat representations for my company (but of course much more boring stats than these awesome facts)😀 - I think you have given me an excellent idea on that heat map for one of our statistics!!! Thanks!

mana555, Japan
Nice research!
I often register at night.
Thank you.

marianneouioui, France
I'm always wondering if people register postcards direcly when they recieve them, or if they wait... I register them immediately, because I know personally I'm always waiting for one to arrive so I can send out another one!
I find it curious when cards are registered on Sundays, but I suppose I didn't take into account posts in some countries being open on Sunday.
Here in rural France there is what is official (post delivers Monday through Saturday) and what REALLY happens (rarely post on Mondays, losts of strikes and days off that slow everything down!)

kattifnatt, Åland Islands
My account has been inactive for a while because I basically live in two places right now, but when I received postcards they would usually come in batches as well. As a student, I sometimes do my thesis writing from home, and if I received cards on one of those days I would usually register them immediately (mostly around 11am). Otherwise I would register them as soon as I get home. But like some have already mentioned, mail is not delivered on Tuesdays, Saturdays or Sundays in Finland.

Like others, I would love seeing similar stats on when people request their addresses, and if it's not too complicated, breakdowns by country would also be very interesting :)

Mrbill, United States of America
After reading several of these comments, I wonder how these statistics line up with the time that the mail was actually delivered and when our individual schedules allow for sending a received message?
In my town in Virginia, USA, mail is delivered to my P O Box every day except Sunday and since I have an erratic schedule, I may allow my mail to sit until I can get there (the post office lobby is open 24 hours).
Therefore, a card could possibly be delivered on Tuesday morning and not picked up by myself until 11PM Wednesday night and then registered on Thursday afternoon.
Therefore, if statistics say that a card took nine days to travel from, for example, Estonia to USA, it may well have arrived in four days but the statistics are not accurate because of our human scheduling issues?
By the way, I realize that these tables are built from real data, not "what if" suppositions. I just like to wonder how different they would be if the "what if" factor were removed. Sorry - I am just too analytical !!

ukcrystal, Germany
I suppose that there will be more peaks in the future as many postal services will deliver cards less often. In Germany, for example, around 1900 post was delivered several times a day. Currently, I guess that the majority here can receive post between 4 to 6 times a week, depending on the region.

Luziaceleste, Brazil
So lovely to learn over postal habits.
Makes a lot of sense.

As some already said, why don't you go for the 'request adress' data? Pretty sure that it is just a clue,but should be nterestig to know as well.

arina2986, Belarus
There is no post delivery in my country on Sunday.
But it was very interesting to know new interesting information about postcrossing!

Vikentiya, Russia
that's cool. I often register on Thursday

ninja, Germany
I register mail as soon as I get it from my mailbox (which is in the building, so I can check every day). Usually this will be after returning from work, which can be anytime between 6pm and 2am (I know, I know).
But mainly I try to register them as quickly as ever possible, because for the sender, being able to send more cards depends on the receiver registering the card. This is especially important for new members.

ninja, Germany
An extra comment - I am a stats geek and love all kind of stats.

The top of my wish list so far would be some country to country stats (ie. how many and how fast have postcards been sent between two countries). It could be on country pages and very similar to a user's stats page, with a country distribution and a list of countries, each with number sent/received and avg/median duration for sent/received, and even activity per month stats.

I expect this not to be extremely difficult to implement, the visual elements and calculation could be the same as for each user, just the numbers to crunch would be much higher ;)

Any chance of getting this integrated into the explore country pages?

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