Postcrossing Blog

Stories about the Postcrossing community and the postal world

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Oh, happy day! 🎉 Unbelievable as it sounds, Postcrossing turns 17 today!

Thank you for coming along on this journey with us, lovingly “spamming” the world with brilliant postcards and friendly words, making sure everyone has something to look forward to when they open their mailboxes. That feeling of finding something there never gets old, does it?

We’re especially thankful for the kindness being shared beyond borders, for all the funny images and fun facts that make us laugh, for all the thought and care that is put onto these little pieces of mail… We believe this community truly makes the world a better place, postcard by postcard.

2 toy mail carriers (from a Playmobil set) have their arm raised in greetings. Around them 2 balloons (one red and one blue) and sprinkled stars give a festive air. The writing on a corner reads Happy Postcrossing!

By the way, did you know that haikus have 17 syllables (arranged on a 5–7–5 pattern)? Seems like a good occasion to try one out, so here it goes:

Postcards in the mail
Seventeen years of magic
Friends around the world

Ahah… at least we tried! 😅

Please do join us in celebrating this special day, and grab a piece of cake while you write some postcards (or haikus)! We’ll be doing the same from our little office here in Portugal, thinking of you all over the world. 🥰

PS – We’re using this opportunity to tweak the blog, increase the font size and make things more readable overall. Let us know what you think!

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According to the census so far, 42% of postcrossers love to see posts about statistics on the blog… so here we are, reporting for statistician duty to give you an overview of last year in numbers! 👷 If you’re like us, you might want to open 2020's stats post on a new tab, to compare the values for the 2 years.

Ok, so first things first, the number of postcards received in 2021:

5,289,716 postcards received

Pretty impressive! This is a good bit (17%) above the total for the previous year, and even better than the number for 2 years ago, pre-pandemic. Woohoo!

26.94 days (average) and 18.12 (median) travel time

Average travel times are slightly faster than the previous year, but the median (a better calculation that doesn’t put as much emphasis on the outliers) is worse… and that is a little surprising to us as we expected both metrics to be lower by now. We hoped that postal services would have had enough time and pandemic experience at this point to sort things out between them, find alternative ways to ship mail, or just close routes temporarily until stuff has been fixed. 😩 Sigh.

25,774,489,281 kms (or 16,015,520,179 miles) of total distance traveled

This number is almost 4 billion more than last year, which is to be expected since we had quite a bit more postcards received as well.

19,929 kms (or 12383 miles) was the longest distance traveled by a postcard

The postcard doing this very very long trip was NZ-224513, which started its journey in Te Awamutu, Waikato, New Zealand and traveled all the way around the world to Cuevas de San Marcos, in Andalusia, Spain, arriving 32 days later! Pretty cool to think that a postcard connected these 2 places which are so far apart that they’re almost perfect antipodes. For comparison, the average distance a Postcrossing postcard traveled in 2021 was 4873 kms (or 3028 miles).

1,269,834 postcards were sent from Germany 🇩🇪

Once again, our enthusiastic German members have surpassed all the expectations and broke their previous record of 1,004,831 postcards sent in a year! This was also the year in which they crossed into Postcard IDs with 8 digits — the first country to do so in Postcrossing. 😊 Here are the top 20 countries and territories, by number of postcards sent:

Ranking Country/Territory Postcards sent
1🇩🇪 Germany1,269,834
2🇺🇸 U.S.A.824,901
3🇷🇺 Russia632,935
4🇳🇱 Netherlands287,368
5🇫🇮 Finland223,456
6🇨🇳 China181,296
7🇯🇵 Japan156,987
8🇬🇧 United Kingdom141,261
9🇹🇼 Taiwan140,879
10🇧🇾 Belarus123,260
11🇨🇿 Czechia109,282
12🇫🇷 France107,469
13🇨🇦 Canada104,474
14🇵🇱 Poland73,601
15🇦🇹 Austria62,951
16🇨🇭 Switzerland59,180
17🇱🇹 Lithuania58,990
18🇺🇦 Ukraine58,780
19🇧🇪 Belgium57,735
20🇦🇺 Australia46,574

The number of “Postcards sent” is a little counterintuitive, so I’ll explain a bit: this is the number of postcards sent from these countries which were registered in 2021. That means that there are some postcards in there that were sent in 2020 and registered in 2021, and there are also many postcards requested in 2021 that are not counted in this statistic (those are still traveling and will likely be registered over the next few weeks/months). Limiting this number to a certain timeframe and sticking to it makes it easier to compare with previous years though, so we’re going with it.

Although some countries have moved up and down the ranking, the countries in the top 20 are more or less the same as last year, with the only difference being Ukraine entering the list and Hong Kong leaving it.

What about top senders?

Sidolix sent the most postcards (registered in 2021)

Hannes (aka Sidolix) sent 2555 postcards and recovered his top pole position from 2019. 😊 Willi (2480), uttia4a (2476), hepman (2451) and Antje321 (2392) complete the top 5, all from Germany.

We’re not sure how these top members do it, but these numbers are super impressive… If you send a lot of postcards every year, maybe come share your secrets with us in the comments below!

Åland Islands sent the most postcards per capita

Looking at number of postcards per capita, the Åland Islands still reign supreme! Here’s a look at other countries and territories in the top 20:

Ranking Country/Territory Postcards per capita
1🇦🇽 Åland Islands98.9854
2🇫🇮 Finland38.0285
3🇱🇹 Lithuania19.7158
4🇬🇬 Guernsey19.1022
5🇳🇱 Netherlands15.7575
6🇩🇪 Germany14.3917
7🇱🇺 Luxembourg13.8598
8🇧🇾 Belarus11.8149
9🇨🇿 Czechia9.4894
10🇱🇮 Liechtenstein9.1005
11🇱🇻 Latvia6.9093
12🇸🇮 Slovenia6.7990
13🇦🇹 Austria6.6908
14🇨🇭 Switzerland6.5819
15🇪🇪 Estonia6.3738
16🇹🇼 Taiwan5.6596
17🇸🇰 Slovakia5.3622
18🇭🇰 Hong Kong5.1353
19🇲🇴 Macao5.0219
20🇲🇹 Malta4.8001

Note that the number represents postcards sent per 1,000 inhabitants, and only countries with more than 10 members are featured. Not many changes in the list, but Macao and Liechtenstein are newcomers to the top 20!

October 1, 2021 was the day in which more postcards were sent

No surprises there, right? Postcrossers sent more than 60,000 postcards on World Postcard Day this year, waaaaay above what we would consider a “normal” day in Postcrossing. The next best day of the year is the kick off of the December campaign on December 1st, with about 20,000 postcards sent. Apart from these 2 days, a lot of the days with most postcards getting sent seem to happen around March.

While we were looking at these numbers, we thought it would also be cool to look at the day with most postcards received…

December 30, 2021 was the day in which more postcards were received

A total of 21,225 postcards were registered in this day, though we confess we have no idea why this day in particular. 🤷‍♀️ Maybe there was some backlog of mail that got stuck somewhere because of the holiday season, and got delivered just as the year ended?

And that’s it for this year’s roundup of statistics! What do you think? Were you surprised by some of these numbers, or are there perhaps other stats that you’d be interested to hear about? Please do share them on the comments!

PS: We know it’s always frustrating when your country is not featured in a top ranking… so we published the full country rankings on this forum post.

PS2: Speaking of statistics, the second annual census is about to close, so make sure you submit your replies if you haven’t done so yet. You’ll find the link to it on the email we’ve sent some weeks ago.

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We have a soft spot for statistics and we know many of you do as well, so here comes the yearly post with some juicy stats about Postcrossing. These were compiled by Paulo, with data from the whole 2020. Shall we have a look?

4,513,545 postcards received

That’s about half a million postcards fewer than the previous year, which is understandable considering the year we’ve just had. In fact, looking at the graph of postcards sent per month last year, you can clearly see the “pandemic dip” in April.

Postcards per month

Things have slowly gotten better since then though, and we saw a lot of new members on the site in the following months, as people settled into their new routines and started to explore new hobbies they could do from home.

28.27 days (average) and 17.67 days (median) travel time

No surprise that things were a bit slower last year! With thousands of flights cancelled and postal services scrambling to find alternative routes to send mail abroad, postcards spent more days on the road. Some even crossed continents in ships or trains!

These numbers are calculated for the whole year though… How do the numbers look like on a weekly basis?

Average Travel Days per Week

Things got a little delayed mid-2020, with postcards taking a few days longer to arrive on average, but the situation seems to have somewhat recovered in the meantime.

21,954,937,005 kms or (13,642,165,382 miles) of total traveled distance

Quite a bit less than last year, but to be expected with less postcards traveling, closed borders and cancelled flights. Many postal services have restricted their deliveries to nearby countries, where connections were easier to ensure and so, on average, postcards traveled to closer destinations last year. 26% of all postal routes remain closed at the moment, but things have slowly been improving with more and more connections being re-opened every week.

Here’s how far postcards traveled, per week:

Average Travel Distance per Week antipodes

The average travel distance was 4,864.23 kms (or 3,022.49 miles) per postcard — around 7.5% less distance than in 2019.

19,974 kms or (12,411 miles) was the longest distance traveled by a postcard

Postcard ES-622789 traveled between the town of Espasante in northern Spain and Christchurch in New Zealand — just a few kilometers short of its true antipodal point!

1,004,831 postcards sent from Germany

Postcrossers in Germany broke their 2019 record and sent even more postcards in 2020, reaching the 1 million postcards/year threshold! This enthusiasm also led them to add one more digit to their postcard IDs — postcard DE-10000000 was registered just yesterday. 🎉

Here are the countries in the top 20:

RankingCountry/TerritorySent
1🇩🇪 Germany1,004,831
2🇺🇸 U.S.A. 688,519
3🇷🇺 Russia391,653
4🇳🇱 Netherlands258,342
5🇫🇮 Finland 199,294
6🇹🇼 Taiwan137,332
7🇬🇧 United Kingdom118,436
8🇨🇳 China113,816
9🇯🇵 Japan107,508
10🇧🇾 Belarus100,352
11🇨🇿 Czechia95,558
12🇫🇷 France 87,882
13🇨🇦 Canada82,095
14🇵🇱 Poland64,027
15🇧🇪 Belgium54,927
16🇦🇹 Austria46,998
17🇨🇭 Switzerland 46,209
18🇱🇹 Lithuania42,652
19🇦🇺 Australia38,834
20🇭🇰 Hong Kong34,279

Same countries as last year in that list, with some shuffling around. Germany, USA, Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK managed to increase their total of sent postcards, but the remaining countries all sent less cards throughout last year.

DJHK sent the most postcards (registered in 2020)

Jürgen (aka DJHK) sent 2485, 103 more than the second most active postcrosser reinholdo (2382). Willi (2360), Antje321 (2322) and Sidolix (2310) complete the top 5.

Åland Islands sent the most postcards per capita

We thought it would be cool to do a different kind of ranking with 2020's data, to give less populous countries and territories a chance to be featured. Here are postcards sent per 1000 inhabitants, for countries with more than 10 members:

Ranking Country/Territory Postcards per capita
1 🇦🇽 Åland Islands 80.38
2 🇫🇮 Finland 37.09
3 🇱🇹 Lithuania 15.85
4 🇳🇱 Netherlands 15.47
5 🇬🇬Guernsey 13.58
6 🇩🇪 Germany 12.57
7 🇧🇾 Belarus 11.09
8 🇱🇺 Luxembourg 10.92
9 🇨🇿 Czechia 9.29
10 🇱🇻 Latvia 7.41
11 🇪🇪 Estonia 6.97
12 🇮🇲 Isle of Man 6.74
13 🇹🇼 Taiwan 6.22
14 🇸🇮 Slovenia 5.98
15 🇨🇭 Switzerland 5.61
16 🇦🇹 Austria 5.51
17 🇲🇹 Malta 5.28
18 🇧🇪 Belgium 4.99
19 🇭🇰 Hong Kong 4.79
20 🇸🇰 Slovakia 4.05

It’s interesting to see smaller countries and islands thrown into the mix! Here’s a previous similar ranking we did some years ago.

October 1, 2020 was the day in which more postcards were sent

No surprises there — World Postcard Day was a huge hit, with a little more than 40,000 postcards received which were sent on that day. The following 3 best days of the year all happened in February, with around 16,000 postcards being sent.

And that’s it for last year’s statistics! I know you’re all eager to read about the census results as well, but it’ll still take us some time to parse those 30,000 or so replies… 😅 We’ll post about it here on the blog once we have some insights to share!

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Good news, everyone: Postcrossing has a shiny new forum! 🎉🎉🎉

Have you ever been to the forum? It’s a place for postcrossers to play games, arrange meetings, do swaps or just chat with each other, cementing the community bonds that tie us together. We love the idea of a forum… but for a long time now, we’d fallen out of love with the software we chose for it 15 years ago. It stopped being developed just a few years after we had installed it, and quickly started to show its age and limitations. The need for a separate login from Postcrossing itself was a hassle, and the lack of responsive design or support for languages that didn’t use Latin scripts were also issues that drove people away from it over the years… A technological upgrade that made the forum easier to use and in tune with the times was long overdue.

So over the past couple of years, we gave different softwares a go, finally settling on one that seemed to fit most of our requirements. We tested it first with a group of enthusiastic postcrossers, and then last month had a trial run with a larger group of active forum members, to understand how the forum would perform with more people on it. We were pleased with the results, and are therefore happy to announce that the new forum is finally live!

Screenshot of the new forum software

Some of the features of the new forum include the integrated login with your Postcrossing account, notifications when someone mentions you, group messages, aaaaall the emojis, easy upload of images, support for languages in different scripts, responsive design, wikis… 🥰 The list goes on and on!

Even if you’re not a “forum person”, we encourage you to login and take a look — maybe you’ll find a cozy place to chat with others in your language or geographical community, play a game of Tag with postcards of a certain topic, geek out about postcards or stamps (or maybe knitting or anime and manga!), talk about your favorite parts of Postcrossing or just generally hang out with other postcard lovers out there. Don’t be shy! It’s a fresh start, and everyone is welcome!

We hope you enjoy the new home for the Postcrossing community as much as we do — see you there! 👋

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Can you feel the excitement in the air? Postcrossing 15th anniversary is coming up soon…

For almost a decade and a half, our community has been diligently mailing postcards and trusting that these will slowly but surely make their way into the recipient’s mailboxes… but what do these mailboxes look like? How does YOUR mailbox look like?

On Postcrossing’s 15th anniversary, we have a mission for you: show the world your own happy mailbox! Grab a camera and your postcards, and take a selfie with your mailbox (ie, the place where you receive your postcards). Then, upload it to our wall of awesomeness! 😍

Here, Paulo and I will go first:

Show us your happy mailbox!

Now we want to see YOUR mailboxes in their full, colorful glory… and your smiles as well!

📮 Add your mailbox!

You have until July 14 to join the fun – go go go! Upload your photo and join the celebration! 🎉