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

Posts tagged "statistics"

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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Whose brilliant idea was it to make a huge census before the end of the year, knowing very little of survey design and statistics? 🙋‍♀️ In theory, it sounded like a good idea… but then soooo many more of you replied than we expected, that it has definitely been a challenge to parse through all this data and make sense of the replies. Slowly though, we’re making our way through the numbers and getting a better idea of who postcrossers are, and how we can more effectively stir the project in the future.

So let’s start this analysis by the basics and try to paint a picture of who postcrossers are, based on the things that stand out from the census.

Gender distribution in Postcrossing Age distribution in Postcrossing

We knew this already, but Postcrossing continues to be a lot more popular among women overall, and the age range of the typical postcrosser is quite spread out. Somehow, I expected to see more teenagers reflected in the statistics… but then again, I can’t imagine a teen having the patience to reply to a survey, so that may explain it. 😅 Overall, we’re quite happy about this age distribution, which tells us this is a community that is made out of not just young people, but older generations as well.

Urban vs rural distribution in Postcrossing How comfortable are postcrossers with computers and the internet?

About 74% of people surveyed live in what they consider urban areas, which in hindsight is probably something we should have defined better, as the line between a city and something else is often not very clear — another thing to improve on the next census. And finally, most of us feel very comfortable using computers and the internet (which was option 5 in the scale).

socialmedia

Not unexpectedly given their popularity, most postcrossers seem to prefer Instagram over other types of social media, followed closely by Youtube and Facebook, with Twitter a distant fourth. Note for 2021's census: do a better job at including non-English social networks, which we completely missed! Still, quite a few of you mentioned VK (the Russian social network), Whatsapp and Telegram, WeChat and Weibo and even websites like Ravelry, Goodreads and Bookcrossing.

Stamp collection

One of the questions asked “Are you a collector?”, and 37% of you mentioned you weren’t collectors at all, but almost half of the respondents said they collected postcards and 20% mentioning being stamp collectors. Keep in mind that this was a multiple choice reply, so there’s likely some overlap of people who are collectors of more than one item.

Beyond postcards and stamps, the answers split into a myriad of replies, all with just a tiny percentage each. Here are the top 10 most popular collections: currency, books, magnets, stickers, bookmarks, pens/pencils, rocks/minerals, dolls, tea and art. What we found most interesting though were the choices that just a few people picked, like thimbles, snow globes, fruit stickers, rubber ducks, funko pops… the list stretches into infinity! That said, 11 of you mentioned collecting “elephants” and we hope these don’t refer to the actual animal, or you’ll quickly run out of space at home… 😅

That’s all for today! We’ll continue extracting statistics from the census and will report on them throughout the year. Stay tuned!

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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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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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You know how sometimes you’re in a town where it seems like there’s a pillar box in every corner, and in other places they’re simply nowhere to be found? Different postal operators have different policies about their post boxes coverage, and so we thought it would be interesting to find out how far the average postcrosser has to walk (or drive!) to mail their cards.

A total of 9928 postcrossers answered our poll last week, and here are the combined results of that informal survey:

Loading chart…

Overall, looks like most of us don’t have to go that far to mail our postcards, which is great news! Just over 50% of postcrossers walk just 500 meters (or 547 yards) or less to post something, and the farthest category (5 km-3.1 miles or more) is the one with the least amount of postcrossers (7.8%).

Naturally, the really interesting data is at the country level. Let’s have a closer look:

Loading chart…

So, looking at the graph, a few countries seem to do things a little differently. For instance, Malaysia and Indonesia definitely stand out, with about a quarter of postcrossers having to go 5km (3.1 miles) or more until they find a mailbox, followed by Brazil with 19.12% of postcrossers in that category. Indonesia and Brazil are both huge countries, so we understand that it might be hard to cover that much area with mailboxes or post offices… but Malaysia is harder to explain. 🤔 Any thoughts?

On the other end of the spectrum, postcrossers in Hong Kong and Canada walk the least to get to their mail collection points: between 38–39% of them only has to go a few steps from their home to get it done. That’s brilliant! Japan and Switzerland are also doing very well in this regard, with over 75% having to walk just under 500m (547 yards) to get their mail going.

Knowing that in the US mail carriers pick up the outgoing mail from mailboxes when delivering mail, we were a bit surprised to find out that these statistics don’t seem to reflect this ultra-convenient service. Is this not a generalized service, perhaps?

So, what do you think? Do you get enough exercise out of mailing your postcards, or do you wish it was slightly farther away so that you could hatch some Pokémon eggs with those extra steps? 😅 Feel free to chime in on the comments below!

PS – As usual, only countries with more than 50 votes are included, so that the results can be more meaningful.

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