Why some countries have more postcrossers?

In your opinion, what is a factor that makes certain countries have more postcrossers per capita?

Affordable postage rate
Tradition in writing and sending letter/pc


I think that money plays a huge role. First of all it makes a difference how much money you earn and how much thereof is left after having paid your fixed costs. Then it is important how much you have to pay for the postcard itself and for posting it. An easy accsess to postcards and stamps is surely also advantageous.

Long story short: It’s the correlation between spare money and the cost you have to bring up to send a card what makes Postcrossing more attractive in certain parts of the world.


I think language might play a role as well, some countries that have either French, or Spanish as the lingua franca instead of English have less members because the people in those countries use English less and thus have less reason to come across this English site, especially if there haven’t been any promotional campaigns for postcrossing in the particular country.


IMO multiple factors affect the participation per country.

First of all, access to the website. Can’t signup if you can’t view the website (plus having a personal email) at all. Obviously!

If you can view the site, it still has to convince you the sign up. It depends on the willingness to participate. Does your country has a tradition of communicating via mail? Do you wish to be connected by pen & paper to someone far away? Do you want to share you passion and thoughts, laughter and cry with complete stranger? There’s much to consider.

Then there’s literacy & education: if you can’t read & write then there’s no use signing up. And if they somehow managed to signup there’s still the hurdle of properly write in whatever language the recipient may understand and address a card to be sent. Some of these can (and should) be learnt from school but others might require some life experiences.

After those came the availability of postal service. Once your card is written and you need to have it dropped-off, is the nearest post office is open and staffed, or is the mailbox opened daily to collect outgoing mails? A bad (or deteriorating) postal service could deter participation

And they came the problem of cost: does your local postage (plus additionally supplies) cost the same as a full meal, or it costs less than a burger? GDP, inflation and purchasing power came into play here, as well as the willingness to invest in such hobby.

Finally (and perhaps controversially) there are policy motivated signups. In some country, school would require students to signup en mass as compulsory school work, which inflates the user number.


I agree with @yudi & @_Hawkwind_ - Having any disposable income is key & millions in many/most countries do not have it. A family member of mine would like to be involved in Postcrossing but they are on a disability pension which is very, very low & can’t afford it - they won’t accept help from me so they can’t participate.

Postal rates are a factor too. Some countries still subsidize mail delivery heavily - treating it like an essential service, but many countries have moved more towards postal services paying for themselves or privatizing them so the users bear the cost. I know folks in several countries including Canada, who trade more internally with each other because the international postal rates are too high for them. I know in Europe, some people mail their postcards in a different country from their own to be able to send their postcards more affordably.

Language issues are a factor as well - Billions of people, literally billions, don’t speak English, so unless they’re willing to try & learn and it’s not easy, they’re not able to participate either.

Affordable & easy access to the internet is an issue as well affecting people’s participation - if you don’t have it or it’s too expensive and in rural & more remote communities in Canada this is still a big issue then it will be hard to participate.

There are also some fascinating cultural differences and there is a lot to be explored here. One example I find fascinating is Sweden & Finland. Pretty similar economically with higher incomes, but Finland has 18,000+ members but Sweden has only 1682 - fascinating & I wonder why?

I’m also super interested in why postcards are such a big thing in Russia. Their postal rates are pretty good compared to their incomes, but I’d love to know why people love to send postcards so much & does everyone in Russia send more mail generally compared to other countries.

There are all kinds of cool things like that on Postcrossing that make it such an interesting place to learn about each other’s cultures & countries, but I also miss & think about those people who aren’t here too.


I agree with the factors others have mentioned, especially money, culture, and language. I think there may be one additional factor that is helping countries with an already large number of users to get even more: promotion by Postcrossers to their family and friends (word of mouth is the most efficient promotion you can get!) and media reports about Postcrossing. I don’t know how I first found Postcrossing (could have been a link on the Bookcrossing webpage, but I’m not sure), but when I moved for a new and much more demanding job, I forgot about Postcrossing. Then I saw a report about a Postcrosser with more than 1,000 cards sent in German television and remembered that I had an account there. I tried and was able to log in, well, and since them I’ve stayed here. :smiley:

@LC-Canada Finland initially, when I joined, was by far the most active country (like Germany is now). Then their postal service reduced service and quality while also increasing prices (from 0.85€ in 2013 to 1.85€ in 2020), so many Finnish Postcrossers quit or significantly reduced their participation. In Sweden, if my memory serves right, international postage always was in the area of 2 Euro, so Postcrossing never wa a cheap hobby there. @TheBeaverFamily has done a maginficent job visualizing the number of cards sent per time for the top 10 countries. In Germany, where international postage has been pretty stable (international postcard currently comes at 0.95 Euro), the rate of postcards has been pretty stable. In Ukraine you can see very clearly the drop in postcards when the war over Crimea and Eastern Ukraine started. From that it seems that economical factors are a major reason for the number of postcards and number of Postcrossers.


Price of postage and paper ephemera such as postcards.

How well or how bad the national post functions. Fast service or slow service.

Access to internet.

Access and avaliablity of ephemera like postcards.

Yes skyhound! Excellent points :+1:t3:

Some countries have abysmal postal services. In Mexico, for example, mail takes ages to arrive, and often times it doesn’t arrive at all. I’ve exchanged cards with a few enthusiastic Mexicans who love the idea of the project but eventually give up.

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As mentioned by the others, I think the postage rates, speed of postal services and culture of writing are all big factors.

Accessibility can be a factor too, be it accessibility of postcards, postage stamps or postal services. Sometimes it may not be as easy to obtain these resources, which can be a push factor.

The phase of life matters too, but this may not be so country specific. I took a hiatus from Postcrossing when I was a student as it took a toll of my finances, but now I’m a working adult, it works out for me.

Oh yes, and given the COVID-19 situation now, some countries may have postal restrictions, which might be another push factor. If I’m not wrong, I think Malaysians can only send postcards to us (i.e. Singaporeans) at the moment, so it might not be all interesting to them?

Not true. The postage has been raised a lot during the past years and is currently well over 2€, but it was 13-15 kr (1,3 - 1,5€) and even lower before. I remember sending international mail with 13kr stamp in 2014 or so, and thinking that it is cheaper that in Finland So the postage price doesn’t explain the user difference between Finland and Sweden, not originally at least.

As being both, a Finn and Swedish, I don’t think the culture itself has much to do with that. I have wondered the same, and I am starting to think it is more of question of marketing. During the early Postcrossing days the Finnish postoffice actually wrote articles on it in their own publication, which is (or was?) a free piece of paper everybody got no matter if they wanted it or not. So they were really actively “marketing” it in order to increase the mail traffic. They have also been active with marketing other ways to send mail, focusing on private persons (cards to war veterans, cards for every singe special day etc.)

Swedish postoffice however noticed that people are not sending letters anymore… And went exactly another way. Instead of focusing on private persons, they went for companies and shipping business. They don’t write articles or market different happenings and mail related things to people. The lost interests on mail started to show on other business too. It is very hard to find postcards and other correspondence material, especially newer ones, outside the touristy areas.

So people in Finland simply were more aware of Postcrossing. There is also Postcrossing association in Finland, which has greatly affected the amount of Finnish Postcrossers (although, it was founded when Finland was already top sending country).

To put it shortly: I believe the information and marketing from post office is the major reason why Finland and Sweden has such a great difference in amount of members. I haven’t noticed any cultural reason for it. I do believe there would be much more Swedish users if Postcrossing was as widely informed here than it is and was in Finland.
However the current postage prices may prevent Sweden ever becoming a big sending country unless everybody starts to send via Germany or something like that.

Oh wow, lot of text. Okay just a small addition. I agree with members above about postage, internet and postcard accessibility, language barriers, efficiency of postal system, financial situation all affect the amount of members, but I would like to add the “information sharing” (marketing?) from post offices and other members. Postcrossing may not advertise themselves but I have seen many times people saying they find their way here because they heard about this from somebody else, or heard from radio, saw on TV, read from newspaper…
And the general trusting on sharing address with other people. In some countries privacy is much bigger issue and people there might feel too uncomfortable to join.


Also, in Finland, postcards used to be everywhere, even in the smallest kiosk, so sending mail used to be very normal and it was easy to start postcrossing. And when this was new, it was written in every forum, like dog owners forum, and “everyone” joined (but I didn’t then).

But, it is not just about cards, because when I was younger, I wrote lots of letters internationally, and swapped, and also then, there was so many Finnish letter writers and swappers, and German and American, but not Swedish (of course few). And I got asked so many times, why Swedish people don’t write letters, or where to find Swedish pen pals or swappers.


Wow, thanks so much @Kompis-Ninna & @xxxyyy for your insight and for explaining it all to us! I knew there was an interesting & complex story as to why there are differences between both countries.

I’ve also been curious about which countries’ postal systems have been encouraging of individuals sending more mail like postcards vs others that don’t.

I also wonder whether the mandate the Finnish postal system pursued to increase more usage was just lucky timing of the right person in the right place or whether there are any trends in valuing public services more or any political decisions around public services that may have helped.

Have both postal services stayed fully public & well funded or has there been a push for more self sufficiency or privatization in one more than another I wonder? I’ve done a lot of advocacy for keeping public services funded properly in my career and it can affect services greatly if funding is cut or de-emphasized.


OMG! I didn’t know that! Thank you for pointing it out!
That might explain the two identical postcards with a map of Taiwan I got from users who haven’t filled out a profile at all and have only sent 1 resp. 3 cards since nearly half a year.
Tbh It’s a bit sad to receive those cards. And it’s even sadder now that I know, that the senders may have been “forced” to participate. :pensive:
That’s a good way to spoil postcrossing and snailmail for them.

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On the other side, it can be a way to be introduced to snailmail and its charm for the first time in your life. How many other cards/mail kids write and receive today …

I had contacts with some classes the last years, it was nice to send (esp. when envelopes were ‘allowed’ so I could add some extra stuff like stickers), and it was nice to receive (yes, there may be a slightly more generic note with such cards sometimes, still these students had to think about Austria and/or what to tell about their own country/life for at least one moment)

Back to topic: I’d go for the already mentioned self-fulfilling dynamic. Countries with a certain amount of postcrossers have reports in media and sometimes stamps and friends talking and clubs and meetings and exhibitions … so others in these countries are more likely to learn about postcrossing.
Of course, this does not explain the very first users - maybe it’s fate.

As for Russia/former Communist block countries, I’ve heard once that postcards were popular b/c you had less problems with censorship. But I don’t know if that’s true.

@Kompis-Ninna Thank you very much for your detailed information! It’s quite amazing what marketing can achieve.

Interestingly we Germans are usually considered to be very privacy-aware and careful (that’s definitely true for me), though the younger generation has been tainted by Facebook and other data harvesters… Still we have the most active community. Well, for myself I can say that sharing my address with a person supposed to send me a postcard is fine (and logical :wink:). What I’m strongly opposed to is them sharing it with a postcard mailing service etc. - that’s illegal.


@yudi you are right and additionally the reliability and speed of the own postal service.

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