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Dublin: 10°C Sunday 25 July 2021

People sent €1m more letters this Christmas - and there's been a surge in popularity of care packages 

“There’s life yet in letters,” An Post CEO David McRedmond told TheJournal.ie.

Image: Sam Boal

AN POST HAS made over €1 million more in letters sales than it did last Christmas, despite a downward global trend in the sale of letters, according to its CEO David McRedmond.

The number of parcels being sent is up 35% on last Christmas. Both post offices and parcel processing centres have also seen a big increase in the number of Christmas parcels, or ‘care packages’ being sent to family and friends abroad

Addresses in Canada, the US and the UK (mainly London) are the most common destination.

This year, An Post made colourful prepaid posting boxes an option to help people send a present abroad. With parcels wrapped up at home, the price can vary massively, and so these prepaid boxes aim to make the process simpler for those sending packages abroad.

“We’re having a phenomenal Christmas on mail – our booklet sales are well up on last year,” McRedmond told TheJournal.ie in an interview. “There’s life yet in letters.”

He says that the growth is because the company “marketed it better, we’ve better stamp booklets, and you can donate to homeless charities through buying stamps.”

There used to be ads that encouraged people not to send Christmas cards, he said, and encouraged them to donate to charity instead.

“Well you can donate and send cards, which is a nicer thing to do,” he said. 

“Some letters are really important. People need to send physical documents, they are really important. If people want to send a personal note, say in the case of bereavement, they’re really important.

It’s really important for people to know that they get there the next day, and having that reliability and having a good product there, that really matters.

An Post recently launched a €5 million brand refresh as it shifts its business model and offers services other than postal and social welfare payments. These include Post mobile and bank loans, with an eye on offering mortgages in the future. 

In June, upon the closure of a Cork mail centre in Little Island, McRedmond said that we were “transitioning from a world of letters to a world of parcels”.

As emails replace letters leading to a global decline, simultaneously there’s been a spike in parcels being sent, as more and more people shop online. 

McRedmond expects another 40% increase in parcels next year.

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“Once people start ordering online, and it works for them, then they will always order online,” he says.

“But we’re certainly not giving up on letters, because it’s too big a part of our business.”

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