December 12, 2016
~by Merry Law, President of WorldVu LLC
Another year has passed and it’s time to dust off my crystal ball to make my global mailer predictions for 2017. It’s been quite a year for direct marketers and the marketing landscape is changing rapidly in the age of big data. You can view my previous predictions for 2016 here, if you’d like to see how those turned out. Now, lets get down to business for the new year!
Here’s what I see coming in 2017
- Postal reform legislation will be delayed again in the U.S. It won’t pass Congress before the new Congress takes office in January, requiring a new beginning for the process. Postal reform won’t be high on the priority list for either the new administration or the new Congress.
- The future President will carry out his campaign promise to end or renegotiate various trade deals, causing uncertainty in trade relations with other countries. This will slow trade between the U.S. and the rest of the world.
- The international economy will remain uneven, with little or no further improvement in most sectors and regions.
- In the international postal world, costs for mailers will continue to rise. USPS has not raised international postage but international fees are increasing. Other postal operators and delivery services will raise their rates, too.
- Mail volumes will continue the trend of 2015 and 2016, with a leveling off in letter volumes and an increase in the volume of packages and parcels. International package and parcel volumes will not increase tremendously, and may level off
- The Universal Postal Union’s Integrated Product Plan (IPP), passed at their Congress in 2016, will be difficult for international mailers and their service vendors when postal operators announce how they will implement the new requirements. (Mail will be classified by contents—documents or goods—rather than by weight. Small packages, under 2 kilograms or 4.4 pounds, will be in their own new class of mail.)
- Undeliverable international mail and its return, or non-return, will become a greater issue for mailers, as more packages and the marketing and transactional documents that accompany them are sent.
- Addresses based on discrete global grids (What3Words, GO Code, etc.) will be a subject of much discussion and publicity, but will not be implemented as part of any national addressing plan. Some changes will, as always, occur to national addressing plans but will be based on current postal addressing models.
- Drones will be used for transport to remote areas but not as “last mile” solutions. Successful trials of drone delivery for pharmaceutical and emergency supplies have taken place in southern Africa and trials elsewhere are also occurring. These deliveries will become more common, although the “last mile” delivery will continue to be by current methods.
- Concerns about hacking and privacy will not slow the move toward more mobile, Internet and cloud-based services and data storage. Consumers will continue to be concerned but accept the risk, with companies making apologies and providing credit monitoring when large attacks happen. Privacy legislation in the U.S. will remain minimal.
We’ll see this time next year whether my crystal ball was too cloudy to see clearly. Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!