Global Courier Service Industry Factsheet 2020: Guide for Sourcing Courier Services, Top Courier Companies, and Future Trends (NAICS 4921)

courier service industry

The global courier service industry is growing with a strong pace, mainly driven by the rising demand for parcel delivery in B2C, B2B and C2C sectors. With a surge in e-commerce across global economies over the recent years, the highly competitive courier service industry is also facing a dramatic transformation in order to meet consumers’ ever-changing needs. Although, the cure concept of courier service industry has never changed, that is how to deliver goods or packages safely to their destination, into the customer’s hands faster and easier.

Over the decades, the global courier service industry has adapted technological and industrial development to make use of sophisticated equipment and networks to ensure fast and timely delivery. Globalization and the growth in e-commerce among various economies across the globe has helped shape the highly competitive courier service industry.

Today’s courier industry must identify new trends and opportunities, as well as address delivery challenges and distribution obstacles. Customer demands have evolved and increased with rapid speed, in order to remain competitive, businesses must quickly response to the change of the market for their goods and services.

Bizvibe helps buyers and suppliers in the global courier service industry to connect with each other, shorten sourcing and purchasing cycles, and maximize the profit growth.

Global Courier Service Industry Overview

According to the recent industry report from IBISworld, the global courier service industry recorded a total revenue of $325 billion in 2019, representing around 4% growth rate from the previous year. Globally, the courier industry consists of over 580,950 businesses, employing nearly 4.1 million people.

The courier service industry comprises two segments, which include larger couriers and smaller local delivery companies. Together, these segments provide air, surface and express courier delivery services of parcels, documents and packages to a wide variety of consumers. Demand for each segment differs based on the services offered. Downstream demand stems from manufacturers and retailers across the globe, while demand for local delivery services is derived from households and other local markets. Although the markets for each segment differs, demand for each segment tends to fluctuate in line with global consumer spending, the total value of world trade and global internet usage.

When it comes to the regional market, about 56% of the global market’s growth will originate from APAC during next five years. The region is witnessing high growth in the manufacturing and consumer goods sector. This, coupled with the rapid economic growth is inducing several companies to invest in this region. This will subsequently drive the need for courier, express, and parcel for specific applications, fueling courier, express, and parcel market growth. China is currently the largest market for courier services in APAC. Market growth in this region will be faster than the growth of the market in other geographies.

Other world’s largest courier service markets include the US, UK, Singapore, India, Brazil and Australia.

As for the market segment, the global courier service market is expected to witness a stronger growth in the B2C segment. In addition to shipments from businesses, the segment also includes returns by customers. Thought the domestic market provides maximum growth opportunities, there is also a rise in cross-border shipments in such as China and India.

Highlights of the Global Courier Service Industry in 2020

  • Asia Pacific is the largest regional market by value, accounting for around 41% of the global market. North America and Europe together represent a little over 50% of the market.
  • China is the key growth market, representing almost 68% of the Asia-Pacific regional total by value. Chinese volumes reached 51bn in 2018.
  • In Europe, Germany remains the largest market with the UK having been the fastest growing of the main countries (7.2% CAGR); as a result of its large online retail sector.
  • The traditional hub and spoke model remains very important, but some carriers and new entrants to the market are exploring both variations on, and alternatives to, it.
  • Same day deliveries are becoming more widely offered with a series of on-demand providers such as Glovo, On the dot, Deliv and Stuart offering immediate delivery for a premium, and routed services providing afternoon / evening delivery
  • Postal operators are becoming more focused on parcels as their mail volumes fall. As they do so, they are becoming more commercial and more international.
  • Third party brokers continue to grow in serving the C2X segment, in particular in European markets, where there are often several alternative carriers

Source: Apex Insight

Top Courier Companies in the World 2020

DHL Express

With a presence in more than 220 countries and revenue of over $70 billion a year, DHL is undoubtedly a top courier company today. DHL is a subsidiary of Germany’s Deutsche Post that offers expertise in air, ocean freight, overland transport, express, international mail services and contract logistics solutions. DHL has aggressively expanded its business in countries that could not be served by any other delivery service, including the Eastern Bloc, Soviet Union, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, and North Korea.


FedEx Corporation is an American multinational delivery services company headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. It was founded in the year 1971 and is today one of the top courier services in the world. The company is known for its overnight shipping service and pioneering a system that could track packages and provide real-time updates on package location, a feature that has now been implemented by most other carrier services. In 2018, FedEx achieved $65.5 billion revenue.


UPS is best known for being one of the world’s largest courier and delivery companies, UPS offers a wide range of courier solutions that are challenging several established courier companies present in the market. The global infrastructure of UPS’s courier and logistics solutions span over 1,000 locations in more than 120 countries. Combine that with the company’s top-notch IT systems, dedicated in-house logistics expertise, and unwavering focus on operational excellence, and UPS emerges as a serious contender indeed.


Yamato is one of Japan’s largest door-to-door courier service companies with head office is in Ginza, Tokyo. By 2019, Yamato achieved a market share of 41% in Japan’s courier service industry. Today, the company delivers approximately 900 million parcels each year. Links with United Parcel Service allow Yamato to deliver in more than 200 countries.

SG Holdings

SG Holdings Co., Ltd. offers courier services. The Company provides goods delivery, cargo logistics, goods pickup, and other services. SG Holdings also operates real estate development, human resources management, and other businesses.

Japan Post Group

Japan Post Group was born after the privatization of the hugely successful Japan Post in the year 2007. Though following that the privatization was put on hold, the company rose to become one of the largest postal services in the world.


United States Postal Service (USPS) is a state-owned courier service company based in Washington DC, US. Although its courier and delivery business only serves the US market, the United State Postal Service is one of the largest civilian employer in the United States, and owns the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world. The USPS posts an annual revenue of $67. billion, and employs close to 600,000 people.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail is a government owned postal service in the United Kingdom. It is one of the oldest delivery services in the world and has over 176,000 employees. The figures available for the year 2006 show that the Royal Mail delivered 84 million items every working day. That is quite a large number and shows the reach of the company. Royal Mail is also known for its superior quality service and high guarantee of delivery.


DTDC is an Indian delivery company offering global services as well. It was founded in the year 1990 and since then has widened its network around the country. Today it has one of India’s Largest Domestic Delivery Networks and covers over 10,000 pin codes across the nation. It is headquartered in Bangalore and handles over 11 million consignments per month.

Global Courier Service Industry Trends

The global courier service industry is projected to be driven by the revival of the manufacturing sector and expected economic expansion. Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Korea, and Thailand are witnessing increased penetration of electronic devices. This coupled with the rise in availability of multiple online payment methods, the changing lifestyles due to urbanization, and the growth in electronic goods, automobiles, and food and beverage shipments, will benefit the courier, express, and parcel industry. The rise in contract manufacturing of FMCGs in emerging markets will significantly influence courier, express, and parcel service growth over the next few years.

The disruption caused by the rapid growth of e-commerce is one of the major industry trends in the global courier service. A lot of effort is being put into improving last mile services, both by incumbent carriers, large retailers themselves, and other parties such as independent parcel shop and locker networks. The industry has seen many leading online retailers, led by large marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba – which now account for almost a third of global online retail between them – are increasingly getting involved in delivery, reflecting the strategic importance of it to their business models. Meanwhile, many top retail companies are also investing in improving their information systems, both to provide better information on delivery to end customers and to improve their operational effectiveness.

New technology is also being applied more and more widely throughout courier operations, from automated sorting and robotics in hubs and depots to trials of drones and robots for the last mile and use of blockchain contracts.

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