USPS price changes go into effect in January 2024. Paper and logistics remain stable.

Built on our roots as a printer, mail industry partner and logistics leader, Quad is a marketing experience company focused on delivering streamlined solutions at scale to our clients. As the largest USPS customer, we are uniquely positioned to provide clients with best practices and insights on the latest postal, paper and logistics topics. If you have any questions or concerns during these challenging times for our industry, contact your Quad representative. We’ll tap our in-house experts to investigate and get you the answers you need.

Postal Updates

On Nov. 22, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the USPS price changes for January 2024. However, the PRC acknowledged the concerns mailers expressed about the latest set of rate hikes and agreed to reconsider pricing regulations before the scheduled five-year review in November 2025.

The PRC also approved the first Market Dominant Mail negotiated service agreement (NSA) for Publishers Clearing House (PCH), which is good news for mailers. The regulator had made it difficult for USPS to negotiate and to implement customized pricing for mailers in recent years. Now the PRC is approving prospecting mail rates at cost, provided the mailings meet pre-agreed upon new volume goals from new customers or “prospects” that PCH would not have normally mailed based on current postage prices. “Prospects” have been defined as someone PCH did not mail in the past three months. Similar-sized mailers might be able to successfully negotiate similar arrangements. If any other mailer can meet similar requirements as the PCH NSA, these other customers should be able to take advantage of the same deal.

Miscellaneous updates

  • The USPS and the mailing Industry are waiting on the PRC to formally approve the competitive prices.
  • NPF call for papers is open, with a submission deadline of January 5, 2024.
  • The 2024 National Postal Forum will be held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind., from June 2 to June 5. Online registration is now open, with early bird savings available through January 5, 2024.
  • The PRC approved continuing USPS Connect Local Mail as a test.

USPS delivery performance

With volume lower than usual, the 2023 fall mailing season has seen relatively good USPS performance. Since Thanksgiving, however, volume has increased significantly, causing slowing in many parts of the country. The USPS is focused on its parcel business, which we believe is a contributing factor to the deterioration of service for flats and letters this time of year.

  Week of 11/13 Week of 11/20 Week of 11/27 Week of 12/4
Early 8% 17% 17% 15%
Day 1 34% 46% 38% 34%
Day 2 67% 72% 64% 56%
Day 3 83% 86% 80% 74%
Day 4 92% 95% 90% 88%
1 Day Late 97% 98% 96% 96%

 

No postal facilities were delayed in any significant way in the processing of Letter mail over the last four weeks. The facilities listed below, though, have been delayed in processing Flat mail. The entire state of Missouri has had delayed mail since late October. The USPS reports that a mercury spill in one plant caused them to change operations, which led to further problems. We believe volume and parcels are likely having more of an impact than the spill, at least in more recent weeks. The Milwaukee, Wis., postal facility has had some significant delays in processing Flat mail since Nov. 27, with delays up to a week. We are told that volume is the culprit. Most other locations are delayed just one to three days.

Red indicates less than 50% of mail was in-home by Service Standard. These are considered the facilities of greatest concern.

Entry Type City State In-Home by Service Standard %
NDC Kansas City KS 53.63%
NDC St. Louis MO 36.42%
SCF Akron OH 31.74%
SCF Albany NY 65.87%
SCF Baltimore MD 68.24%
SCF Billings MT 58.11%
SCF Brooklyn NY 60.24%
SCF Charleston SC 67.24%
SCF Cleveland OH 63.09%
SCF Colombia SC 65.52%
SCF Denver CO 56.43
SCF Des Moines IA 62.24%
SCF Eugene OR 51.68%
SCF Fort Wayne IN 39.90%
SCF Ft. Myers FL 47.62%
SCF Gary IN 48.77%
SCF Greenville SC 68.56%
SCF Kansas City MO 50.92%
SCF Las Vegas NV 67.27%
SCF Macon GA 67.45%
SCF Manasota FL 65.93%
SCF Mid Hudson NY 55.86%
SCF Milwaukee WI 40.69%
SCF Norfolk VA 25.46%
SCF North Houston TX 57.89%
SCF North Texas TX 64.74%
SCF Providence RI 66.61%
SCF Raleigh NC 68.13%
SCF Rapid City SD 55.85%
SCF Richmond VA 38.36%
SCF St. Louis MO 49.65%
SCF South Suburban IL 50.88%
SCF Southern ME 66.91%
SCF Springfield MO 47.71%
SCF Tallahassee FL 61.29%

USPS volume

Mail volume for the week ended December 9, compared to last year:

  • Total Mail Volume: Down 5.5%
  • Packages: Up 7.8%
  • Single Piece: Down 7.9%
  • Presort First Class: Up 1.5%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 3.7%
  • Periodicals: Up 3.1%

Mail volume for the week ending December 2:

  • Total Mail Volume: Down 7.4%
  • Packages: Up 5.8%
  • Single Piece: Down 10.5%
  • Presort First Class: Down 6.9%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 6.7%
  • Periodicals: Down 5.3%

Mail volume for the week ending November 25:

  • Total Mail Volume: Down 9.6%
  • Packages: Up 10.2%
  • Single Piece: Down 8.1%
  • Presort First Class: Up 1.9%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 0.6%
  • Periodicals: Down 12.5%

Mail volume for the week ending November 18:

  • Total Mail Volume: Down 1.0%
  • Packages: Up 19.8%
  • Single Piece: Down 7.1%
  • Presort First Class: Down 6.9%
  • Marketing Mail: Down 13.9%
  • Periodicals: Down 12.4%

Paper Updates

  • Paper industry analysts are forecasting improved paper demand and operating rates for most grade segments in 2024. 
  • Industry analysts also project paper mill production capacity in North America will decrease by 10% to 28% over the next two years, dependent upon the grade. Some of this is attributable to mill closures and some to mill conversions to other grades, such as packaging. 
  • Paper prices in most printing grades are projected to decrease by 5%
    in 2024. 

Logistics Updates

The logistics market is currently stable. November diesel fuel prices dropped to $4.25 a gallon from $4.51 in October. 

As always, your Quad representative will work diligently to find you the lowest rates with the most efficient transportation available.