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Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "statistics"

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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On our open poll, many of you asked to see more statistics on the blog, so we thought we’d introduce a new series of posts all about Postcrossing and numbers. And what better way to start than by looking at some of the data from the year that just ended, right? Let’s do this!

5,425,005 postcards received

That’s right — almost 5.5 Million postcards were registered last year, which was pretty neat! We’ve just passed the 45 million milestone a few days ago, and are on track to celebrate the big 50 later this year. Woohoo!

25.7 days (average) and 17 days (median) travel time

Do you know 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) often distort the end result disproportionately.

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.

27,380,992,088 km (or or 17,013,759,698 miles) of total traveled distance

That’s… yeah. I don’t have words for it neither. We’re way beyond Pluto at this point!

19,985 km (or 12,418 miles) was the longest distance traveled by a postcard

Below is the postcard that traveled the longest distance last year. Can you guess between which countries it was exchanged?

It’s a trick question because of the content… but if you guessed New Zealand and Spain, you’d be right! Postcard NZ-155857 traveled between a pair of antipodal points: from the north tip of New Zealand to the south part of Spain.

916,800 postcards were sent from Germany 🇩🇪

Germany was the most active country last year, with almost a million postcards sent from there! Here are the other countries and territories in the top 20:

RankingCountryPostcards sent
1🇩🇪 Germany916,800
2🇷🇺 Russia776,853
3🇺🇸 U.S.A. 606,439
4🇳🇱 Netherlands307,189
5🇫🇮 Finland 247,153
6🇹🇼 Taiwan239,432
7🇨🇳 China221,390
8🇨🇿 Czechia204,019
9🇧🇾 Belarus178,794
10🇫🇷 France152,051
11🇯🇵 Japan132,546
12🇵🇱 Poland108,721
13🇬🇧 United Kingdom102,245
14🇺🇦 Ukraine89,283
15🇨🇦 Canada85,731
16🇭🇰 Hong Kong70,432
17🇧🇪 Belgium61,333
18🇦🇹 Austria53,435
19🇲🇾 Malaysia53,050
20🇦🇺 Australia52,137

hepman sent the most postcards

Dedication and a speedy postal service helped the Germans climb to the top of the charts, where they took most of the top spots! Here are our 20 most avid postcrossers:

1hepman🇩🇪 Germany2,586
2DJHK🇩🇪 Germany2,547
3uttia4a🇩🇪 Germany2,533
4Willi🇩🇪 Germany2,506
5rosenbusch🇩🇪 Germany2,473
6Klausdiemaus🇩🇪 Germany2,471
7gremlin1🇩🇪 Germany2,456
8tullipan🇩🇪 Germany2,411
9Antje321🇩🇪 Germany2,395
10Marcii🇩🇪 Germany2,385
11ned44440🇮🇪 Ireland2,384
12Minna71🇫🇮 Finland2,348
13mapcardcollector🇬🇧 United Kingdom2,336
14Matin🇩🇪 Germany2,316
15fisherman🇮🇪 Ireland2,314
16chrissybaby🇮🇪 Ireland2,309
17Bock🇦🇹 Austria2,272
18marie61🇩🇪 Germany2,255
19radiofan🇦🇹 Austria2,249
20TimSarah🇩🇪 Germany2,199

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


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On last month’s poll results, Maria (aka Maria_Castro) from Portugal suggested we asked everyone’s opinion about the postal services in their country… admittedly a very subjective (and perhaps touchy) topic. Still, we thought it would be interesting to get a feeling of the national reputation of postal operators. Which ones stood out? And would their domestic image match the perception we have of them from abroad?

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Overall, the results are pretty heartwarming! The vast majority of postcrossers think their post offices are doing a good job, with a fair amount going as far as saying they’re excellent.

But since the question was about each national post office, the important analysis comes on a country basis. So how do these results compare on a national level? To find out, we had a closer look at the results from countries with more than 50 votes (for more accurate results):

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The results more or less reflect the general trend described above, with a few exceptions.

For instance, Italy pops out immediately as the country with the highest number of unhappy postcrossers (80% rate their postal service as poor or fair)… which I confess is a bit of a surprise. Is it the stamp prices? Or perhaps problems in the mail delivery? Maybe some local postcrossers can enlighten us in the comments! Other postal operators with mediocre results were Brazil, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Sweden (around 60% on the same metric).

On the happy side of the spectrum, Japan's Post has an extraordinary reputation: 74% of Japanese postcrossers think their post office is doing an excellent job and further 23% consider it good, with less than 3% in the remaining categories. Pretty impressive!

Other Asian countries follow closely behind, with South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan all having roughly 90% happy customers (rating either excellent or good). In Europe, Switzerland has the most content postcrossers, also with over 90% satisfaction, with Austria, Germany and Latvia trailing closely.

Please keep in mind that the answers to this kind of “perception survey” are always subjective… so remember to take the results with a grain of salt. That said, what influenced your vote? And if you were in charge of your country’s postal operator, what would you change?

PS – Any statisticians in the house? 😅  If you’d like give us a hand in future polls, let us know!


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I remember writing my first postcard: I was seven, spending the summer vacations of first grade by the sea with my family. That year, my dad decided to delegate the holiday postcard writing to me, since I had just learned how to write and had “such a nice handwriting”. Honoured, I took the task very seriously, drafting a short text to tell my grandparents about all the sandcastles my brother and I had built, how many ice-creams we had eaten… and how much we missed them. I did my best calligraphy and was very mindful of the small space as my dad dictated each line of the address. The sense of pride as I arrived weeks later in my grandma’s home to see the postcard proudly displayed on the fireplace mantle was huge. 😊

So I wondered… is this a common experience? On average, how old are people when they write their first postcard ever? To find out, we decided to do a poll! Over 13000 of you responded, and here are the results:

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Like me, the majority of postcrossers seems to have had their first postcard-sending experience earlier on, when they were 10 or younger, with progressively less people in each of the following age groups. That seems logical, as postcards are quite a neat way of practicing writing for the little ones and to get them excited about mail.

But we all know that some countries have more of a mail culture than others, so we were curious to discover how these statistics differed around the world. Let’s have a closer look at the countries with more than 50 votes (for more reliable results):

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Interesting! Seems like there’s a clear start 'em young trend in Europe, where the majority of people write their first postcard in their primary school years. Finland takes the cake, with 77% of members writing their first postcard before their 11th birthday — which isn’t very surprising, given the fact that they were always the country with more postcrossers per capita! Switzerland, Netherlands and Germany are close behind, all with more than 70% of postcrossers also sending their first postcards early on.

Shifting to Asia, Japan’s numbers seem to be similar as those in Europe, but they are the outliers of the region. People in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India share the experience of writing the first postcard in their teenage years… and on the other end of the spectrum, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are the latest starters of the group, with the majority of people writing their first postcard when they’re already adults.

So… what do you think? Were these results in line with what you expected for your country? And if you remember writing your first postcard ever, who was it addressed to? 🙂

PS: We’re always looking for new ideas for polls! If you thought of something cool to ask postcrossers (and that would fit in a poll), let us know in the comments below.


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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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