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Blog > Census 2020, part 2: Sending

Here it is, another post in which we do our best to extract some juicy statistics from the 2020 census! But before we dive in, a quick note to remind everyone that these are results based on a survey of about 30,000 replies. Although we expect the data to be somewhat representative of the Postcrossing community, we can’t quite extrapolate that these portray an accurate sample of all postcrossers. For instance, children may be less likely to reply to questionnaires and Google Forms is blocked in some countries, to mention just a couple of factors that might skew the results. So, please take them with a grain of salt. Ok, let’s do this then!

First off, how happy are postcrossers with their country’s postal service?

A graph depicting how satisfied postcrossers are with their postal service

Reasonably happy, it turns out! The majority of respondents seem to have a positive impression of their postal service’s work. You might remember we’ve run this same poll back in 2017, and the results were somewhat similar. We’re curious to track this sentiment in the next few years, and check how it changes over time.

And where do you usually mail your postcards?

A graph depicting the location from which people usually send mail

Street mailboxes continue to reign supreme, with post office alternatives being popular as well. A good number of you (almost exclusively in the USA) mentioned also sending postcard from home, and though we don’t mind our ride to the post office for the chance to stretch our legs, we are a bit jealous of those of you who only have to walk a few steps to send your mail. How convenient is that?! This is another question we had previously polled in 2017, and street mailboxes seem to have gained a bit of terrain since then. Interesting!

Next, where do postcrossers get their postcards from? This was a question where you could choose several options, and here are the top results:

A graph depicting where postcrossers buy their postcards from

Isn’t that interesting? Online shops are used nearly as much as local postcard shops these days, which is perhaps no surprise with the pandemic. Tourist centers and museums also seem to be popular options, with post offices and supermarkets coming after that. This was also an open-ended question, so many of you typed in other options, like artists, airports, auctions, fairs, gas stations, postcard shows or even drugstores and pharmacies! It’s amazing to see this kind of variety — postcards are everywhere!

Turning to Postcrossing specifically, we asked how many postcards (with Postcard IDs) members send through Postcrossing every month on average, and these were the results:

A graph depicting how many postcards (with Postcard IDs) members send per month

So the majority of the postcrossers who replied to the survey sends less than 5 postcards per month, with a further 30% sending about double of that. Although the interval between these numbers isn’t always the same, the more you move up the numbers, the less people there are at each level, as one would expect.

And given these numbers, are postcrossers happy with how many postcards they can send at the moment?

A graph depicting how happy people are with how many postcards they can send in Postcrossing

Looks like most members are happy with their current limits, with about a quarter wishing they could send more, and a few noting that they’d like to send less. Some of you wrote that you would enjoy sending more postcards, but cannot do so as international mail is becoming quite expensive in your country, which we definitely understand. 😔

And finally, how many other postcards (for direct swaps, forum trades, friends and family, etc) do postcrossers send per month, on average?

A graph depicting how many other postcards do postcrossers send per month

It seems that most of you send just a few extra postcards every month. This matches our own experience as well, sending a few birthday postcards or swap postcards throughout the year, when the fancy strikes.

So… what do you think? Where do you sit in these statistics? Do the averages more or less match your experience, or are you more of an outlier in some of these graphs?

For us, it’s definitely been an interesting process to parse this data, and slowly discover more about the Postcrossing community. There are still plenty of spreadsheet rows to go through, and we look forward to sharing more census results with you in the coming months. Stay tuned!


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52 comments so far

D2M2, United States of America
I didn't realize so few people could send out their postcards from home. Living in the USA, I will not take the ability to send postcards from home for granted.

Petre, Netherlands
Thank you for the data! It would also be good to see trends developing troughout the years.

HookedonPostcards, Canada
Thank you for communicating and sharing with Postcrossers what you gather through your survey! It's a nice way for us to feel connected to the larger community.

ned44440, Ireland
Great survey and interesting facts.
I'm one one of those who'd love to be able to send more officials 😁 than the current max .
Keep up the good work 😍

silverrose, United States of America
I enjoy postcrossing and the friends I've made. It's wonderful to get something special in the mailbox!

Pxn, China
thank youThank you for all your data, which makes me better understand the website of postcrossing ! It makes me love this big family more🤗

cjf3848, United States of America
I think there is some ambiguity between postcards sent from home and from a box at the street, I send my cards from home, but my mailbox is located on the street...I don’t remember how I answered that question, however. The data is very interesting!

zimorodek, United States of America
In the USA, one can leave an outgoing mail at the house mail box, and a mailman will pick it up while delivering mail to the house. I think that's "mailing from home" as opposite to taking mail to a post-owned box on a street. In Poland, only this second option was available. There was not picking up mail at home.

honeyfritter, United States of America
Great data sharing

genny2012, United States of America
I feel so wonderfully normal! Generally on surveys I'm an outlier, but in the Postcrossing world I fall into the largest slice of the pie on almost every question. Clearly, I've finally found My People. (And what an awesome tribe we are!)

knally13, United States of America
I am so interested to learn that almost half of respondents send fewer than 5 official cards per month, and a full 75% send less than 10! I know that my interest in the hobby has ebbed and flowed over the years, but to see in the numbers that so many people send so few cards is surprising!

Iside82, Italy
I didn't even know that in some places you can send postcards from home! In Italy we can send parcels this way, but only if we book a shipment, but not the regular mail

NellyMuc, Germany
Thanks for the surprising data. I was thinking in a completely different direction. I don't stop learning.

Nique, Canada
Sooooo interesting! Thank you.

FairyFoot, United Kingdom
Postage has more than trebled since I joined Postcrossing back in 2008... and is primarily the reason I don't send many postcards these days. I still look for postcards even though I am not a collector.

bigred398, Canada
I am happy with my post friends, thou I would love to send other places then Russia , last 5 in a row or Germany twice back to back. I know it is the luck of the draw. We here in Toronto seem to have little cards to choice from. Considering the ones I have received from other countries.

Cherie_, United States of America
Even though I could mail my postcards from home, I always drop them off at the post office counter, because that way the postcards get a good-looking cancellation mark on them. Otherwise they get a black ink mark across the top of the card, that I think ruins the look of the postage stamps.

Trinch, United States of America
I would love to see a plot showing the correlation between happiness with postal service vs average days to send/receive postcards on a country by country basis. Common sense would suggest a strong correlation, but I suspect there may be some evidence of people not appreciating how good they got it.

Jarmo, Sweden
Very interesting!

Grayslate, United States of America
Love this! Thanks!
I think you should interview those sending >100 postcards a month. OMG, can you imagine! :-) If the price isn't the issue, how do you find the time! :-)

Bossmare, United States of America
Interesting survey. I really think that President Biden needs to get LeJoy out of the postmaster general job quick! The man is trying to slow down our mail by closing post offices not allowing overtime and taking out the blue boxes. I've noticed a real slow down of mail since the Covid pandemic. I also seem to send mostly to Germany, Russia, USA and China. I don't mind since it is countries with the most members and Germans are real lovers of postcards and so are we Americans.! Seems strange that Canada is not more popular.

stargazer-daisy, United Kingdom
It was interesting to read the results of the survey. Im lucky I have a postbox across the road. Postage in the UK has become quite expensive which limits the amount of cards to send. Nevertheless its great fun being surprised with where my postcards will end up and a greater surprise when they drop through my letter box.
Looking forward to another year.

Sidolix, Germany
Thanks for this data !
I´m retired so have time to write ~200 cards a month.
Ok, I´m also a passionate collector !
Like " Cherie_ " , I mail my cards at the post office counter , to get a nice and good-looking cancellation mark on them.
We all have a place in this great community !
Let us be happy together !

hyacinthbucket, United States of America
Like "bigred398" I seem to get an abundance of addresses for Russia and Germany. I receive from a variety of other locations, but I seem to be sending cards primarily to those two countries. There must be a huge number of postcrossers there. I wonder if they get tired of sending to the USA ....

volvomom, United States of America
I found it really interesting that worldwide postcrossers get their cards from local shops. Oh, I want to move to wherever that it is when I retire!

MerlinM, Germany
Thank you so much for these results. Well I'm one one of those who'd love to be able to send more. And I am around 100 -160 cards per month plus about 150 cards or letters to friends and family.
@ Grayslate: I always write to free my brain from thinks that would otherwise stop me from sleeping. It is a relaxing normality in the evening to me.

hobbymail, United States of America
I have kept a Pandemic Journal ('m filling in the 5th booklet one year in).Keeping ever-changing statistics , personal notes of anxiety or discovery, and each right-hand page is faced with a drawing on the left. I was sending postcard #500 at the 1st page, today I logged in #670. This ability to send a cheerful message on a pretty card has been wonderful.

Axolotl_, Germany
Huh, I feel a bit weird being in the super-sender section here. Doesn't feel like so many cards per month. 😁 Currently I'm at about 80-110 per month and I don't count the ones sent in the forum. 🙈

MEOKUOK2, Canada
I love knowing the statistics .
I live for Postcrossing"!

amullari, Estonia
Great to know! Thank You for the statistics! It helps to feel as a part of a great community. I am wonderig the high level of online shops usage. I'm seeing this on my receivings, too. Your statistics help to see the whole, the reality.

Lejo, France
I always enjoy these surveys. Thank you Paulo and Ana, for putting them in pie charts for us.
Reasons for wanting to send more cards are obvious : lack of money, too busy with work or children, having more interesting pass times,... On the other hand some people mentioned to want to send less cards. What is the reason these people want to send less ? The only thing I can think of, is they see Postcrossing as an addiction. Anybody can elaborate on that ?

Lunushka, Belarus
popularity of mailboxes on post offices may be caused by decreasing number of street mailboxes - i.e. in my city 4 nearest street mailboxes were removed 3 years ago, street mailboxes are left only on wide avenues, others left outside of post office and can be accessed any time but still the post office nearby is responsible for taking out this mail.

Sipi, Finland
Just wondering so few are finding their cards from flea markets! It is an easy way to get bigger selection of cards and the hunting for nice cards is also a pleasure. And sometimes they are also cheaper than ordinary ones.

jithen, India
Thank you so much. I am very interesting to send and receive letters and postcards to other countries Postcrossing helped me alot. Now my main hobby to send postcards.

Flippie, Canada
I'm happy that I live a country where I can find easily postcards, post stamps and mail service. I send 10 cards per month and I like, that's OK with me. I love also statistics because I'm always curios about others...
Thank you Postcrossing!

betslets, United States of America
Wow...I was really surprised to see that many people are sending just a few cards per me...however, I have kept a steady pace for almost a dozen years, despite increasing postage rates and decreased "me time". The pandemic has actually resulted in expanded "Mom" duties for me.
Basically, I simply enjoy getting to know the receivers/senders and learn more about where my cards are going to/coming, quality over quantity, maybe? I'd love to have advice from those that send/receive thousands, however, as to how they manage to do it, and are also able to afford it.

Waldo, United Kingdom
London has stocks of postcards currently unavailable during Lockdown. I did not appreciate this when I became a Postcrosser in January. I have been using cards from those collected from museums and trips over the years. It is easy to send fewer than the full allowance, but for me, more would be a challenge nowadays. I like to see and handle the cards I buy, and have several outlets lined up to visit when permitted.
I use the post box in the wall of the local Post Office. More and later collections than nearer pillar boxes.
Thank you for the analysis of usage.

la_luna_pusa, Philippines
The only option I have for sending mail is personally going to the post office counter.

manencov, Romania
I buy postcards from bookstores, museums, churches, monasteries, private emissions or post offices. I send my correspondence directly from the post office. The services of the post offices are very bad in the sense that the correspondence is brought to the recipient with a very long delay ( twice a month) saying that they do not have time for this. Often the correspondence is placed in a mailbox other than the recipient's (I suffered something like that) and I think this is a good reason why many postcards are lost. I gave up for the official postcards send because many do not take into account to the theme and preferences of the postcard collector (recipient).I prefer private swap. I send a lot of postcards and letters in a month because I like to communicate a lot with good people from all over the world.

christelvonderpost, United States of America
love the survey. Postcrossing has over 802,000 members and I am curious how many of those are active accounts. SEEN in less than a year. I received an address where the recipient hadn’t looked at it for 26 days and still now is over a month. soon it will be expired. happened before. 😢

CatharinaG3, Netherlands
I found it strange that there are respondents who say they'd like to send less cards. So, why not send less if that's what they want? Nobody is obliged to send the maximum number of cards, right?

Owlagdad, United States of America
Interesting stats and comments. Ironic to me are these contradictory facts: progress in technology in processing mail; diminished mail sent due to emails, texts, etc; longer travel times; and finally, skyrocketing postage rates (to make up for decrease of customers?). Doesn’t quite add up to me.

NIDUSKA, Finland
Thank You

sweta86, Germany
i love statistics!! Thank you!!

Genevril, Ireland
@CatharinaG3, nobody is obliged, correct. But some just like sending cards too much :D Every month I go over my postcrossing budget. No biggie - I can afford it, but if there was an option somewhere on the site to limit myself from sending to a, let say, certain number per month, I'd probably tick it once in a while!

postmuse, United States of America
I recently started working as a mail carrier for US Postal Service and during Carrier Academy (we didn’t get wands or robes, unfortunately) I surprised the class and instructors when I mentioned the US is unusual in that people can leave outgoing mail in their home mailbox. That’s quite a perk!

Also, lots of US households have stickers on their mailboxes thanking mail carriers. That makes my day :-)

nards_nuggles, Australia
I self make/ self print all of my postcards. it's easier and cheaper than buying commercial cards, and more rewarding. esp when you get a happy reply or its favourited. I run a FB group for like minded people, you don't need to be artistic, just rebellious.

JacquiH, United Kingdom
I usually buy my cards from local shops and tourist information centres (we live near the Lake District, so there are lots of lovely cards) - but I have just about run out over the past year as all these places were closed. But on a positive, my husband says he will never need to ask if I really need ALL those cards I am buying - he knows now the answer is YES I DO!!

JacquiH, United Kingdom
Most houses in the UK have a mail slot in the door, which means we have nowhere to leave outgoing mail, so we have to go out to the postbox in the street. I hadn't realised that letter slots in the door was not very common in other countries...
At our previous house, the post came through the cat flap in the back door - very handy for small parcels.
Maybe that could be a topic of the month - how does your mail reach you/where will you post this card? I am lucky - there is a post box about 100m from my house at the corner of the square I live in.

alison41, South Africa
Fascinating! The members who have mailboxes at the end of their driveway (USA) don't know how lucky they are! Mail collection from home? so fortunate!

Demmi, Romania
Great statistics!
Thank you!
:) :D

Augustina1, Netherlands
I really like statistics. I can see I’m almost everywhere with the majority of Postcrossers. I’m happy with the postal service, I send mail at the street mailbox (not that far from home) and I sent my maximum set cards per month.
Thank you for analyzing the data. I’m curious about part three. 😃

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