USPS postal price increases for 2019

We had a very busy year with our mailing services in 2018, and with that, more and more questions started to be raised around the Postal Service™ next round of price changes. While no specifics were ever provided, the general signal to the industry is “if the price increases are approved” the 2019 price change would be roughly a 2.5% increase which is was the expected available Consumer Price Index (CPI) amount.

As the mailing industry started reviewing the proposed prices for 2019, it quickly became apparent that there were several parts of this price change that was far from the vanilla price change. While the price change is capped at the class level, the individual prices within each class can be changed any amount as long as it averages out at the class level. As the mailing industry started looking over the rate filing, there were some prices being increased well above the 2.5% cap at the mail class level.

  • First Class mail will see the single piece stamp price jump 10% from 50 cents to 55 cents. This 5 cent increase took much of the available CPI for the mail class. This means that the First Class Presort had a below CPI increase with most of the rates increasing a little over one percent.
  • Periodical mail saw the closest to a “vanilla” price change of the classes of mail, but even in this class of mail, there were still some winners and losers. In general the larger volume, heavier publications will see a less than CPI increase and the smaller, lighter publications will see an above CPI increase.
  • Marketing Mail saw saturation, high density plus, and high-density rates get hit the hardest with a well above CPI increase. Some saturation mailers are seeing price increases as much as triple CPI with an 8% increase. Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) – or Print & Copy Factory refers to "Neighborhood Mail" prices will also see increases over 5%. It should also be noted that the Full-Service discount is being increased from 0.1 cents per piece to 0.3 cents per piece which will now be the same as the First Class discount for Full-Service mail.

The USPS also introduced some new concepts in this price change. Dimensional (DIM) weight pricing is being introduced for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and Parcel Select. This will complicate postage calculation because instead of paying postage based only on the weight of the piece, parcels that are large and light will be subject to this new DIM pricing calculation and pay whichever is greater. This price change item received a significant amount of industry pushback, noting that many parcel mailers would need to invest in equipment to support DIM weight pricing. It was also noted that the majority of parcel mailers enter a system lockdown period through the busy holiday mailing period and required software changes to support DIM weight pricing could not be made. Based on the feedback the Postal Board of Governors along with the PRC have both approved the delay of DIM weight pricing until June 23, 2019.

Another new concept being introduced is zone rates for First Class Parcels. Unlike DIM weight pricing, this new zoning remains on track to be implemented with the price change on January 27, 2019.

The industry was happy to see the 2019 price change also included a full calendar of promotions. Essentially all the promotions that were run in 2017 are now back again for 2019. It should be noted there are some modifications to some of the requirements for these promotions. Some have slightly modified timeframes for when the promotions are being run. The Earn Value promotion will be 3 cents per piece in 2019 compared to 5 cents per piece in 2017. The postal service also split out the Informed Delivery promotion to be its own standalone item. If you haven’t done an Informed Delivery campaign, now is the time to start looking into doing one, the promotion doesn’t start until later in 2019 so you have time to start working with it before it goes into effect. Print & Copy Factory is delighted to be offering this service, paying just a touch more for notifications on when a bulk mailing has been delivered.

We hope this information is helpful, and consider planning on doing more direct mail in 2019. It will save you money, it is more tangible – people hang on to them.

Becky Raney, COO

Print & Copy Factory

information pulled from our mailing software blog.

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