Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "statistics"

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:

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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:

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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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When we’re talking to other postcrossers at meetings, we often hear about their long term penpals, and how some people have kept up a steady correspondence back and forth for years. So it got us curious… how many postcrossers had or still have penpals? And if they never tried it, how many would be interested in giving penpaling a go in the future?

To find out, we ran a poll on the front page last week, and collected 8351 votes. These are the results:

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As our own suspicions hinted, postcrossers are naturally fans of letter writing, with most people either having one at the moment (32%), or having had one in the past (33%). A further 24% of the respondents had never tried, but are eager to give it a go someday, and only 11% of participants stated that they were not interested.

The breakdown of the results by country can be seen below, but please take these numbers with a grain of salt. The average age range of postcrossers varies wildly in places, with Asian countries typically being home to much younger postcrossers, while things are more evenly distributed in the Western hemisphere. Naturally, this has an indirect impact in the results, as younger people might not have had the time to try penpaling yet. That said, here they are:

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It’s always tricky to make conclusions from these kind of informal studies, but Japan seems to be the reigning champion of penpals at the moment, with over 50% of postcrossers still keeping in touch with theirs, and only 19% having given up over time.

Finland stands out as well — can you spot it on the graph? Over 97% of postcrossers have either tried, still have or are interested in penpaling. This does not come as a surprise, knowing their top spot on Postcrossing’s per capita ranking!

Which countries have more people looking for penpals for the first time, you ask? That would be China, India, Taiwan and Ukraine, all of which have over 40% participants in that category. (By the way, if that’s you, did you know that there’s a section in the Postcrossing forum dedicated to finding penpals?)

And Portugal, the birth country of Postcrossing, appears to be the one where people are least interested in penpals at all… Both Paulo and I have had penpals before, so I confess this is a somewhat surprising result for us. 😅 Perhaps other Portuguese postcrossers want to chime in on the topic?

In any case, how did your own country fare? Are the results more or less in line with your experience and expectations? Let’s discuss it 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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Some years ago, we published a different ranking for postcrossers, one that focused on the concentration of postcrossers per 100,000 habitants in the different countries. Essentially, this ranking answers the question: where are you more likely to find a postcrosser in the street?

Things have changed since the last time we’ve compiled these statistics over five years ago, so we thought it was time for an updated ranking. Paulo ran the numbers and here it is:

Ranking
(current)
CountryPostcrossers
(per 100,000 inhabitants)
Previous ranking
(in Feb. 2013)
Previous ranking
(in Dec. 2010)
1🇫🇮 Finland38211
2🇹🇼 Taiwan37166
3🇧🇾 Belarus30438
4🇱🇹 Lithuania29423
5🇳🇱 Netherlands23044
6🇨🇿 Czechia1941115
7🇪🇪 Estonia18752
8🇱🇻 Latvia16377
9🇭🇰 Hong Kong134919
10🇦🇽 Åland Islands12010>50
11🇲🇴 Macao11985
12🇬🇬 Guernsey1061912
13🇵🇱 Poland841216
14🇮🇸 Iceland70139
15🇵🇹 Portugal661510
16🇷🇺 Russia642129
17🇩🇪 Germany621717
18🇸🇬 Singapore591411
19🇸🇮 Slovenia581813
20🇺🇦 Ukraine571635
21🇱🇺 Luxembourg452220
22🇳🇿 New Zealand442014
23🇧🇪 Belgium422326
24🇸🇰 Slovakia413638
25🇨🇭 Switzerland382425
26🇦🇹 Austria342528
27🇮🇲 Isle of Man31>50>50
28🇯🇪 Jersey312927
29🇦🇺 Australia292618
30🇨🇦 Canada272724
31🇲🇹 Malta263021
32🇮🇪 Ireland253133
33🇳🇴 Norway252823
34🇬🇺 Guam2341>50
35🇬🇧 United Kingdom233332
36🇧🇲 Bermuda23>50>50
37🇫🇴 Faroe Islands22>50>50
38🇭🇺 Hungary223434
39🇫🇷 France224442
40🇺🇸 USA213231
41🇧🇬 Bulgaria194748
42🇲🇩 Moldova184249
43🇲🇾 Malaysia183740
44🇭🇷 Croatia173530
45🇦🇩 Andorra17>50>50
46🇸🇪 Sweden164036
47🇧🇳 Brunei163837
48🇪🇸 Spain153944
49🇹🇷 Turkey134847
50🇲🇪 Montenegro114543

But first, some disclaimers: some countries or territories on this list don’t have 100,000 habitants (eg. islands), so the number of postcrossers per capita there can be a bit misleading. And as with the last time, to calculate the data above we took into account only countries with more than 10 members and excluded countries for which we did not have reliable population data.

As expected, some things have stayed the same, and some have changed. Finland is still the place with more postcrossers per capita, although Taiwan is slowly making its way up to the top of the chart. Czech Republic is the only new country in the top-10, with a very impressive jump to 6th place.

Some newcomers to this ranking include the Isle of Man, Andorra, Bermuda and the Faroe Islands, all of which now have more than 10 members. Hurray!

From those countries which were already on this ranking, Slovakia climbed an impressive 12 places (from 36 to 24) and Guernsey and Guam both went up 7 places (from 19 to 12 for the former and 41 to 34 for the latter). Other countries that moved up significantly include Russia, France and Bulgaria.

The biggest slides down the ranking happened in Brunei (38 to 47), Spain (39 to 48), Croatia (35 to 44), the USA (from 32 to 40) and Malaysia (from 37 to 43).

And apart from Finland, Germany is the only other country that has maintained the exact same position over the past 8 years, with a firm grasp on 17th place in the ranking. 😊

Curious for more data? Check out the Explore countries page for all the numbers!

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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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