World's Postal Services Struggle with Lower Demand

February 26, 2013 - 3:29 AM

Dwindling Deliveries

In this photo taken Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, postman John Lahmert delivers mail in rural Otaki, New Zealand. New Zealand is considering cutting letter deliveries from six days a week to three as global demand for postal services dwindles. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)

OTAKI, New Zealand (AP) — The core letter business of many postal services around the world is in precipitous decline.

While a boom in Internet shopping has helped increase parcel deliveries, data from a number of countries indicates this alone won't be enough to save them. The once-proud postal services that helped build modern society are scaling back operations, risking further declines.

The United Kingdom is preparing to wash its hands of mail deliveries entirely by selling the Royal Mail, which traces its roots back nearly 500 years to the reign of King Henry VIII.

The U.S. Postal Service sparked uproar this month when it announced plans to stop delivering letters on Saturdays. And New Zealand is considering more drastic cuts: three days of deliveries per week instead of six.