National Survey: USPS Service Delays, Postage Increases Will Drive Majority of Americans Away from Using Mail
The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C21)—an organization of public and private companies, trade associations and other industry groups which rely on the U.S. Postal Service to do business— announced the results of a national survey indicating that the overwhelming majority of the American public would oppose USPS actions to deprioritize mail service, has little-to-no awareness of the postage increases due to take effect in late August, and that more service delays and postage increases would push most Americans to consider alternatives to using the mail.
According to the survey, which was conducted by Bellwether Citizen Response from May 31st until June 15th, 2021, using a nationally representative, statistically valid sample of over 2,000 respondents, the majority of the American public (76%) strongly agrees that the USPS should place equal importance on the delivery of regular mail and packages—a stark contrast with USPS’ move to prioritize package delivery over mail delivery by raising mail postage and slowing mail services. In addition, the majority of Americans (77%) have little-to-no awareness of the upcoming postage increases due to take effect August 29, and If rates increase, two-thirds (65%) of respondents will consider shifting their communications from USPS mail to online. Moreover, if delivery times slow, nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) will consider shifting their business communications from USPS mail to online.
In addition, the survey results imply that public satisfaction with USPS could be waning. While 68% of Americans report strong overall satisfaction with USPS service, that number represents a huge decline from a Postal Service Inspector General survey conducted in October 2020 and released in April 2021 which found that 91% of respondents held a positive opinion of USPS.
“The American people clearly care about mail and believe the U.S. Postal Service should prioritize mail as well as packages, yet USPS is making good on its plans to slow mail delivery and impose its second postage rate hike of the year,” said Art Sackler, executive director of C21. “It’s disturbing that 77 % of Americans have no idea that the new rate hike is coming, and that USPS’ service delays and postage hikes will only drive Americans away from using the mail, even as they also penalize newspapers, charities and businesses recovering from COVID-19.”
Sackler continued, “Congress has the opportunity to protect Americans’ access to mail by amending the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act of 2021 (H.R.3076, S. S.1720) to direct another regulatory review of how rate increases are set – this time taking into account the wrenching changes to the postal system and its vast customer base during 2020 and early 2021. Let’s not forget that in fiscal year 2020, with packages spiking and mail plunging, mail still generated more than $37 billion for USPS, while packages, even in what was their best year, generated $28 billion.”
The survey results come after a group of House Democrats and Republicans sent a letter last week to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy urging him to delay the August 29 rate hikes from taking effect until at least 2022. Under current plans, first-class mail postage and “forever stamps” will increase from 55 cents to 58 cents, and rates for most mail in general will rise by 7%, while charities and other nonprofits, magazines, newspapers and catalogs will face a postage increase of 8.8.%.
The survey was conducted online by Bellwether Citizen Response from May 31st until June 15th, 2021, using a nationally representative sample of over 2,000 respondents. The full survey is available here.
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