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Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "poll"

Some years ago on Postcrossing’s fourth anniversary, we asked members to send us photos of themselves mailing their postcards, and compiled the results on an emotional video that still has me reaching for the tissues every time I see it.

At the time, we noticed something interesting: our simple request for “a photo of you mailing your postcards” produced a variety of different results. Most were photos with all shapes and colours of street mailboxes, but there were also lots of photos taken inside or just outside post offices, and some even featuring home mailboxes… At the time, we hadn’t even realised that in some places, mail carriers doing their rounds also picked up outgoing letters and postcards from people’s home mailboxes, if they found something there!

Since then, we’ve wondered… how are postcards usually mailed around the world? We’ve certainly noticed that street mailboxes or post offices are harder to find in some countries than others, but being geeks, we wanted to see the data. Over 10,000 of you responded to this question last week, so here are the results:

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Overall, things look more or less divided: while the majority seems to be mailing their postcards from a post office (either at the counter or at the mailbox there), an equally large percentage of postcrossers send their mail from street mailboxes. What happens if we look deeper into the data though, country by country?

Here is the detailed graph, showing only countries with more than 50 votes (for more reliable results):

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The results were a lot less predictable than we expected! A few countries stand out:

  • In Turkey, Brazil and Slovakia the majority of mail is posted from the post office counter. Are mailboxes hard to find? Or do people perhaps not trust that they’re emptied regularly? 🤔
  • The country who loves post offices the most seems to be Indonesia though — 97% of postcards are usually sent from there!
  • On the other side of the spectrum, 90% of mail from the Netherlands is posted from street mailboxes. We assume this has to do with the replacement of so many post offices with “service points” inside other shops.
  • And the USA seems to be one of the few countries where mail is regularly picked up by mail carriers. It sounds quite convenient, and we wonder why other countries don’t seem to have caught on to this practice…

We’d love to hear from you all on these statistics. Were the results in line with what you expected from your experience in your own country? Why, or why not?

Also, some people responded the poll with “Other”, which we always include to cover all the options we didn’t think about. We find it intriguing though… if you voted “Other”, what does that mean in your country?

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Over the years, we have noticed that the favourite part of Postcrossing varies from postcrosser to postcrosser: some prefer the sending, others the receiving, and many love both. So, we thought a poll would be an interesting way to have an overview of these preferences.

Thus, without delay, here are the final results from 11369 votes.

poll favourite part

The winner is clearly that sending and receiving are both enjoyed equally! Or, perhaps, it is just hard to choose between one or the other. Making someone’s day with a surprise on their mailbox can be a lot of fun, but at the same time, being the one surprised can be pretty neat as well. So choosing between the two is not easy at all. Looking at just the sending and the receiving options, the receiving one seems to have the lead.

For this poll however, we wanted to go a bit further with the results. We know many of you love statistics, so we did some more digging into the data. We were curious to see if the preference between sending and receiving changes from country to country? Here’s what we found out from analysing the data from the countries with more than 50 votes.

First, the short answer: it does vary from country to country and by quite a bit! In many countries the preference is for the receiving (just like the global average shows), but there are exceptions too!

Starting with the countries which do prefer receiving to sending, these are the ones where the difference (sending vs receiving) is most expressive: Turkey (38% vs 5%), Taiwan (26% vs 6%), Portugal (29% vs 9%) and China (25% vs 5%).

However, we were surprised to find that there are also a few countries which do not follow the global average results and, in fact, actually prefer sending postcards than to receiving them! The top 5 countries where this happens: Australia (24% vs 11%), Japan (27% vs 14%), Austria (24% vs 11%), Canada (22% vs 13%) and Finland (21% vs 13%)!

It is important to note that, the clear winner on this poll, both globally and per country was the option in which both sending and receiving are both enjoyed equally! Still, for us it was interesting to find out these differences which the global results didn’t quite tell.

What about you — what did you vote and why? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Many of you might not remember we used to have polls on the site, a looooong time ago. The last time we ran a poll on Postcrossing was back in 2011… and we seem to have forgotten all about them. Paulo stumbled on the code for polls recently and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it still works! So we decided to run a poll about something that has been intriguing us for a while: people’s preferences on the stamp types and how they adhere to postcards. Are self-adhesive stamps (that you peel off a sheet) better than stamps on gummed paper (that you lick)? Does it even matter?

But first, a bit of postal history: can you name the first stamp ever made? And who was its creator?

If your answer was Penny Black and Sir Rowland Hill, you’d be correct on all counts! In its 1837 pamphlet, Sir Rowland Hill called for “low and uniform rates” according to weight (rather than distance) and proposed the concept of stamps: a piece of paper “covered at the back with a glutinous wash”. The first gums were called cement and consisted of a mixture of potato starch, wheat starch and acacia gum. The idea “stuck”, and quickly spread from the UK to the rest of the world.

In 1964, 124 years after the release of the Penny Black, the first self-adhesive stamp was created by an unlikely country… Sierra Leone! That’s right — this African nation was the first one to give it a try, followed by a Christmas stamp from the USA ten years later… and many other countries after that.

If you’re curious to learn more about these themes, check out the Wikipedia page for Postage Stamp gum.

So back to our poll — 8495 postcrossers responded to it over the past week, and these were the results: Lick or stick?

Looks like things are more or less evenly divided! Though a large number of postcrossers doesn’t seem to have a preference, from those that do prefer a type of stamps, the choice of the majority seems to be self-adhesive stamps. That surprised me, as I expected postal lovers to prefer the traditional ones… but I can definitely understand that licking might not be for everyone and adhesive stamps can be more practical.

What about you? Which camp are you on, and why?

And last but not least, running a poll was fun! If you have ideas of other interesting polls that we could make, please share them in the comments. We’ll try not to let another 6 years go by until we run the next poll! 😅

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