Breaking Down This Year’s USPS Postage Increase and How It Could Impact You
A temporary USPS® postage increase took effect this month to help cover the handling costs of the large number of parcels in the pipeline during the holiday season. While this increase is similar in some respects to those in recent years, the size and scope of this year’s increase could result in companies taking a different strategic approach to projects like holiday cards, seasonal promotions or end-of-year special offers.
To help you stay ahead of the curve, let’s break down the finer points of this year’s postage increase and how it could impact designers and marketers for the rest of 2022 and into 2023.
What are the basics of this year’s postage increase?
This planned peak-season postage increase began October 2 and will remain in place until January 23, 2023. There are no structural changes planned as part of this temporary postage increase, which is designed to better align USPS retail and commercial prices with competitive practices.
The adjustments for commercial Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express include a 75-cent increase for Flat Rate Boxes and envelopes, and a 95-cent increase for retail Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express flat rate boxes and envelopes. In addition, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground will also experience postage increases at 25 cents for commercial and 30 cents for retail, with additional increases depending on weight and delivery zone.
Plus, a handful of other USPS services and products will also increase as part of this seasonal plan, including a 25-cent postage hike for Parcel Select Destination Delivery Unit (DDU), 75 cents for Parcel Select DSCF and 75 cents for Parcel Select DNDC.
What’s the reason for the temporary USPS postage increase?
Aside from covering the costs of parcel handling and resources during the peak holiday period, the postage increase is part of a 10-year USPS process and infrastructure improvement plan called Delivering for America.
The plan was published in 2021 and established the goal of achieving “financial sustainability and service excellence” in the wake of a changing domestic marketplace and declining mail volume in recent years. For context, the USPS has experienced more than $87 billion in financial losses during the last 15 years.
These holiday postage increases will help the Postal Service® not only avoid projected future losses, but also upgrade their processing equipment and make capital investments in their vehicle fleet and technology to improve their standard of service — and provide consistent on-time delivery.
The USPS currently handles nearly half of global mail volume, delivering to more than 160 million addresses across the country — a figure that is expected to rise in part due to improvements and upgrades as part of the Delivering for America plan.
How could the USPS postage increase impact you?
The scope and timing of the USPS postage increase actually provides some interesting opportunities in terms of creativity and outside-the-box thinking for designers and marketers — especially for those with tighter print marketing and advertising budgets. In addition, incorporating these strategies even after the postage increase ends may go a long way toward more innovative direct mail and print projects.
- Consider going with a lighter paper stock: Not only will using a lighter paper stock help reduce the overall weight of your print piece, but it can also open the door to a variety of more interesting finishings or coatings to enhance your visuals and messaging, and also help differentiate your project from others in a similar vein.
- Focus on the fold: Unique folds are an innovative way to integrate copy with design in a print piece, but thinking about the right fold for your project at the conception stage can reduce the envelope size required for your direct mail piece, thus reducing the overall parcel size and weight.
- Think about digital printing: Digital printing platforms allow you to print the exact number of pieces you need, which is particularly valuable for short-run projects compared with offset printing that often results in extra pieces that need to be stored or go to waste. With digital printing, it’s possible to print on demand, and that means you can do a small run now and, if needed, another small run later to help save time, money and resources.
With these considerations, designers and marketers will be equipped to overcome any budgetary challenges the postage increases present, but they may also discover new ways to conceive and execute direct mail campaigns for any number of applications.