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

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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! 🎉

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Dear postcrossers,

It’s a little crazy out there, so we wanted to take a minute to check on everyone. How are you doing? We hope you and your loved ones are all healthy and staying cozy at home as much as possible. It’s been a weird week around here, mostly worrying about friends and elderly relatives, and trying to keep calm. But, truth be told, it’s also been a week of finding purpose and hope in the little things.

DE-8894293

This is in no small part due to the many postcrossers, who have written in to let us know how much receiving mail is cheering them up while self-isolating. Many of you are staying home with energetic little ones that you’re struggling to keep busy, others just need to feel connected with the world without the anxiety-inducing frenzy of social media. Whatever your situation might be, sending and receiving postcards seems to bring people a small measure of comfort in these troubled times, and we are thankful for that.

Now more than ever, we’re also thankful to the many mail carriers out there keeping people connected. Though most postal services are still working, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and ensuing flight suspensions have forced many postal operators to divert or cancel some of their mail routes. This is something we’ve always kept an eye on behind the scenes… but lately, this information has been updated so frequently that it was becoming overwhelming to keep an eye on all the mail suspensions, as well as replying to your queries about them. So we created a platform to make this information available to the community, and called it the Postal Monitor.

Postal Monitor

The idea is that we have a dedicated place in Postcrossing that keeps track of all the ongoing mail route suspensions around the world, so that we can add them to the project’s algorithm. This page relies on the excellent work that postcrosser Chie (aka Chieusa) has been doing on the forum for many years now, carefully putting together all this information with the help of reports from the community. So if you know of any updates, please report them on the forum, so that they can be included.

You’ll notice on the Postal Monitor that delivery to China has been re-established in many countries, so Postcrossing is back to giving out addresses in China in the countries that can send mail there.

A few of you have also suggested the implementation of a feature that would allow exchanging postcards with your own country exclusively. This is not an easy feature to implement in Postcrossing, which is designed to be global by definition. We’re giving the idea some thought, and checking whether it would be feasible.

Lastly, let’s take a deep breath, stay calm and find ways to support and be kind to each other throughout this. Remember that we’re all in it together. 🌈

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Back in the beginning of 2018, I wrote a post about the site’s statistics in 2017. I meant to do one of those posts every year… but seem to have forgotten about it last year. Sorry, everyone! So, without further ado, here are some of the Postcrossing statistics for the year of 2019.

5,100,682 postcards received

For a few years now, we seem to have stabilized at around 5 million postcards exchanged per year, which is pretty neat and puts us on track to celebrating 60 million postcards in late 2020. Who’s looking forward to that party? 🎉

25.44 days (average) and 16.94 days (median) travel time

Do you still remember the difference between an average (or mean) and a median? To calculate the average of a set of values, you sum all the values in your set and divide them by the total number of items in that set. This is great if your values are more or less well distributed, but outliers (both large and small) tend to disproportionately distort the end result.

Enter the median, which can be roughly described as the “middle” value of a data set. If you put all the travel times in a looong ordered line, 17 days would be the value in the centre of this distribution. This is a more reliable value to determine how many days most postcards travel before reaching their destination. Some will be quicker, some will be slower, but on the whole, postcards seem to travel somewhere around 17 days. This number hasn’t changed much over the years.

26,836,704,573 kms (or 16,675,555,116 miles) of total traveled distance

That’s enough to go to Neptune and back 3 times! That number is so gigantic, it sure makes me happy that postage is no longer calculated according to the distance traveled

19,993 km (or 12,423 miles) was the longest distance traveled by a postcard

That’s CN-2803565, exchanged between jessicastier in Xian, Shaanxi and LalyVillablanca in… Wait, can you try to guess which country that postcard traveled to, without looking? Which country is most likely to be the antipodes of a city in central China? 🤔 To check whether you’ve guessed correctly, have a look at the postcard’s page.

964,324 postcards were sent from Germany 🇩🇪

No surprise here, Germany continues to be the most active country in Postcrossing with over 964K postcards sent from there. Here are the other countries and territories in the top 20:

RankingCountryPostcards sent
1🇩🇪 Germany964,324
2🇺🇸 U.S.A. 631,917
3🇷🇺 Russia600,844
4🇳🇱 Netherlands243,805
5🇫🇮 Finland 219,883
6🇨🇳 China206,578
7🇹🇼 Taiwan184,779
8🇧🇾 Belarus141,269
9🇯🇵 Japan135,628
10🇨🇿 Czechia135,115
11🇫🇷 France115,193
12🇬🇧 United Kingdom113,527
13🇵🇱 Poland89,051
14🇨🇦 Canada84,649
15🇭🇰 Hong Kong55,600
16🇧🇪 Belgium54,741
17🇱🇹 Lithuania48,795
18🇦🇹 Austria47,863
19🇦🇺 Australia47,293
20🇨🇭 Switzerland45,741

Sidolix sent the most postcards

That was close though! Once more, well done to our fleißig German members. To be fair, it’s easy to be an enthusiastic postcrosser in Germany, where postage is still reasonable and postcard shops are plentiful in most places.

RankingPostcrosserCountrySent
1Sidolix🇩🇪 Germany2,512
2uttia4a🇩🇪 Germany2,511
3hepman🇩🇪 Germany2,407
4ned44440🇮🇪 Ireland2,398
5Antje321🇩🇪 Germany2,374
6Matin🇩🇪 Germany2,365
7tullipan🇩🇪 Germany2,365
8Willi🇩🇪 Germany2,316
9Silke45🇩🇪 Germany2,312
10rosenbusch🇩🇪 Germany2,310
11Kekel🇩🇪 Germany2,264
12DJHK🇩🇪 Germany2,230
13Rehus🇩🇪 Germany2,207
14Emillio🇨🇿 Czechia2,205
15Bock🇦🇹 Austria2,194
16elbe🇩🇪 Germany2,192
17bas31🇨🇿 Czechia2,182
18TimSarah🇩🇪 Germany2,171
19ho-modellfan🇩🇪 Germany2,169
20Rosenquarz🇩🇪 Germany2,150

710 meetups organized in 54 different countries

Soooo many of you organized meetings to celebrate Postcrossing with other members of the community in 2019 — from Italy to Oman, Singapore to Iran, Seychelles or Isle of Man, postcrossers got together in all continents except Antarctica. Hurray!


And that’s it for last year! If you’re hungry for more numbers, Postcrossing has a group of pages dedicated to statistics where you can find more data to explore.

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