April 9, 2021 (RISC-WP-21-002)
An OIG survey administered during the COVID-19 pandemic found a majority of people across the United States held a favorable view of the Postal Service (91 percent) and agreed or strongly agreed that mail is important (96 percent).
Respondents checked and read their mail more frequently in 2020 but sent less mail and fewer personal packages.
Americans reported placing online orders more frequently than previous years and expected to shop online more after the pandemic is over.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people interacted with their communities and businesses — including the Postal Service. The OIG conducted a nationally representative survey to understand the ways the COVID-19 pandemic may have altered customer perceptions of the Postal Service and their habits around mail and other postal-related activities.
The OIG found that Americans continued to hold favorable views of the Postal Service during the pandemic, underscoring the important role USPS plays for the nation. During the pandemic, the core ways customers interacted with the Postal Service were through mail receipt, post office visits, and delivery of online orders. Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents reported checking their mail every day. However, respondents sent mail and personal packages less frequently compared to the previous year. Ecommerce grew during the pandemic, with more online orders placed in 2020 than in previous years. Survey respondents expect some of this ecommerce growth to continue after the pandemic.
The Postal Service has played an important role in connecting the nation during a time of pandemic-related social distancing and closures. The OIG survey results provide information on changes in customer behavior and expectations, and careful monitoring of emerging trends will allow the Postal Service to continue to prepare for new and growing demands moving forward.