Will there be postcards and stamps in 2030's?

A clarification: I mean a postcard, a card mailed written and stamped.

Yesterday, the CEO of Posti (the main Finnish postal service) estimated that the last cards in Finland will be sent at the end of decade. The amount of Christmas cards drops every year 10% and he expects it to continue the same. In 2019, his predecessor estimated the letter mail would practically come to its end in 2024.

Are there similar talks in your country?

As long as parcels will be delivered (and this is a huge growing business) we can always pack there also letters and cards. But, it is not quite the same.

Here in Finland, it has not been possible to use stamps on parcels for some time already. When cards and letters stop going, there is no need for stamps either. It is also possible the stamps are retired before the letter post. (They might stop publishing new stamps and not want to accept old stamps as they are not getting any new money from those.)

In any case, it seems quite inevitable we will eventually lose our beloved stamped postcards. :broken_heart: (Unless some courier business starts to sell them as a luxury service - but even so, it would probably be on a narrow area only.)

I think it will also make very interesting situation if letter mail stops in different countries at different times. Some countries might have a strong domestic demand for letter mail and continue much longer.

What are your thoughts and feelings about this? What do you think about the situation in your country? And does this - the expected death of postcards - already affect your postcrossing practices?

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Yes, because countries bring in revenue from stamp collectors. In the USA, cute/romantic stamps are big business for wedding invitations.

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I think postal services as a public, accessible, affordable service are in big danger in many countries from right wing gov’ts who don’t care about public services & are happy to cut services & staff & wages, “make the service broken” and then hand it off to their corporate donors to privatize the service.

We need to fight for public postal services & make sure our gov’ts keep them public & affordable for everyone, not just those who can pay higher fees.

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Finland may go down the Icelandic route, they stopped issuing stamps in 2020, once all the stamps have been used up, that is it no more stamps from Iceland, you will be forced to use barcoded labels or a 9 to 12 digit code written on the letter/postcard.

They say they will reprint older stamps, but who knows…

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I doubt that. Getting rid of all paper post seems to be Posti’s agenda, but they don’t want to announce it in public. Instead, their customer relations managers repeat the same mantra “we believe written messages and cards will have value in the future” like trained parrots when the stamp prices are rising annually.

Sometimes I feel stress and sadness because of continually rising prices and brain farts like this. Like how long I can continue with this beloved hobby of mine. This uncertainty has most of all made me think quitting, but I have persisted. They say that letter delivery isn’t good business, but still the board members and the CEO has to get their bonuses and salary (Posti’s CEO has an astronomical salary of 910,933 euros/year, more than other CEO’s in state owned companies).

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I think that this is a problem in America. At least for me I’ve noticed that I’ve had to slow down on sending cards out because I can no longer afford stamps that well.

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Fascinating question. Thanks for bringing it up!

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I want to say yes.

Admittedly, stamp prices are rising in many countries, but on the other hand, there are also countries where sending a card remains relatively affordable (China, India, Singapore, Malaysia come to mind)
At least in these places, I think stamps will survive.

As for cards, one can have one’s own photos printed and made into postcards, so it’s less of an issue than stamps, I think.

Edited to add: as I told someone before, we have to keep fighting the good fight. Support your local postal service, send cards and letters as much as you can, make friends with your posties.
I can’t guarantee that there will still be cards and stamps in future, but I can do my part to use them as long as they exist.

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I think it’s an interesting question and I’ve thought about it many times.

Because if stamps weren’t so expensive, more people would send more mail. I’m sure there are people in those companies who have known that for a long time. That signal will get louder over the years. Because those people will also lose their jobs if the post office stops sending letters and cards.

I would send more mail if the stamps were cheaper.

If I remember correctly, I recently saw a post from a country (Australia?) where the stamps became cheaper. Who knows, other countries will follow this good idea, especially if the number of letters and cards increases again as a result.

Moreover, people are becoming more and more aware of all kinds of things. That data centers also pollute the environment. Mail is perhaps safer than the internet (a letter is less likely to be hacked. Not all your data from a letter is stored, sold and misused, etc.). That letters and cards are important in social contacts.. There is no alternative to that.

A lot is ordered online, but the costs for sending are high. And you don’t even get it at home in many countries, you have to pick it up. It’s for me a reason not to buy things online sometimes. I then wait until I’m in town and can buy it at the store. Or I’m looking for an alternative product that I can buy in a store. Or I ask if someone can take it for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one looking for cheaper solutions.

If people order less online, this will have several consequences. There will be more pressure from companies to make shipping affordable again. And postal companies get into financial problems. Now maybe they can stop delivering letters and cards, because they earn money with parcels, but if that declines, they have a problem.

And if you want to make sending mail more attractive, letters, postcards, parcels, how can you develop? By providing service again and bringing the mail home instead of to a collection point. Or not every other day, but every day. Or not only during the week but also during the weekend.

There are also companies that send as much as possible by regular mail instead of parcels. Perhaps more and more companies will try to send products by regular mail, if possible. Because that’s cheaper. What will they do if regular mail is no longer delivered to people?

In addition to printing labels and standard stamps, in many countries you can also have your own stamps made with your own photo or logo of your company. Maybe that will increase over the years.

Even though less mail is being sent, the amount of mail that goes around the world every day is still very large. (I think).

Who knows, maybe it will be privatized and there will be more options for sending and delivering mail. Perhaps there will be several postal companies that have a certain service or focus. Who work Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so you can have mail delivered to someone during the weekend. Or only in a country or a few countries (So that you have to put mail to different areas in different mailboxes and one becomes cheaper and the other may be more expensive). Or a company that brings the parcels from the collection point to your home. Or ?? I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud

No one knows how it will develop, but I think a solution will come (just) in time, so that it will continue to exist.

At least I hope so, because I believe that letters and cards are very important for people to be happy.

If people don’t want to send cards and letters anymore (ask any kid in high school if they even know how to send a letter) then there’d be little reason for post offices to continue issuing stamps. It’s the same way with telephones; since most people now use cell phones, you rarely see public payphones anymore. I only know of one payphone in the (fairly large city) in which I currently live, when there used to be many.

In the UK there is no hiding that Royal Mail wants to move away from letters,
The parcel division subsidises the loss letters make. There are plenty UK newspapers have reported that RM want to stop weekend deliveries of letter mail and many sorting offices have been instructed to prioritise parcels during the recent strikes and Christmas period.

We all know letter volumes are falling each year and many (private) postal services dream of ending letter mail in favour of lucrative parcel mail and compete with parcel only companies.

Stamps in recent years have stopped appealing to the philatelist, and many stamps have tie ins with big movies and brands with no relation to the country connected.

Also postal services would prefer is commerative stamps where not used for postage and that these stamps are just purchased by collectors to fill albums and stock books, and so on.

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Happy to hear if that’s the case in USA. All in all I think the situation will be better (at least longer) in bigger countries where lots of people live close to each other.

I think in Finland there are less and less stamp collectors and less and less people who send or receive mail. Our society is highly digitized and keeps getting even more.

It is also unfortunate, that not only is mail expensive, people have also lost their confidence on it. It is no use to say others I send and receive tons of letters and cards each year and hardly any go missing. If a person sends only a couple of Christmas cards and those arrive for St. Valentine’s Day (if even then), they will spare their money next time.

Yes I feel we are in a spiral where less letter mail → higher cost → even less mail. If this was a normal business, one would either try to put the cost down or offer better service to make it more attractive. But I think they have just given up. The parcel business is prioritized. It feels now they are just waiting for “the last granny without internet” to pass away…

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Yes. Finnish Post has made numerous really expensive mistakes which make no sense at all. Sometimes it feels it was all for this purpose. However, I feel that what comes to letters and cards, there is no longer national vision that they should be part of our daily infrastructure. We are a big country (as a region) with very few people scattered here and there. It is hard to get it working if there just isn’t the volume. People use their smartphones and laptops instead.

It is a good question that would more people here still use paper bills and send cards and letters if the prices would have stayed affordable and the service’s credibility high. Perhaps. But would it still be less than it used to be? Most likely. There are many people who don’t even know how much sending a card costs as they haven’t send any for years. So it is not only that Posti’s services have gotten worse. The new digital services are favored by many, even if not by everybody.

Last week, I heard two university students discussing sending some documents by the post. One of them said she was constantly on the phone with her mum while at the post office, because she had no idea what to do and had never sent a letter before. She concluded that if she needed to send something again, she would need to call her mum once more because she couldn’t remember what she had done to send that first letter.

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I too have witnessed such cases, and it makes it sad :pensive:

to quote Private James Frazer from Dads Army who was a proffessional philatelist.

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To be fair, I’m not sure if I knew how to send a letter either if I grew up in a time where a lot of things are done digitally. It’s sad for us but for younger folks it’s normal and just not needed.

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Is it just not needed or do they think it is not needed?

There are a lot of people here who felt lonely or wanted more contact with people and therefore started with Postcrossing. But many people don’t know what value letters/postcards has or have never experienced it.

More and more people are feeling lonely and alone, that is only increasing.
Sending and receiving mail can be a solution.

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Yes… For every now and then I feel sadness I didn’t join postcrossing sooner. I feel I missed the ‘golden years’. Not because of the people (there are fabulous people now! :heart:) but because of the mail prices and the overall future expectations.

It is rather depressing. Even though the current CEO said last year that “letter mail will be delivered as long as it exists” I don’t think a few postcrossers can keep it going. When will it actually stop, no one knows. The uncertainty indeed is the worst.

Of course I don’t worry all the time, but it still casts a shadow over an otherwise joyful hobby. I can only hope they will inform us in a good advance.

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I agree 100%,

I recently gifted a work colleague some commerative stamps, her daughters are 13 & 10 and have never written a letter, they both were fascinated with a postcard from Japan I sent their mother a few years ago.

I like to think I sparked something, but not sure the enthusiasm will last.

Nearly on every occasion I visit a post office, I am the only one purchasing stamps and sending letters and postcards, most people are returning online shopping items, or paying bills, transferring money, other post office services.

Some important items such as some passport and driving licence applications still require validation and physical information needs to be submitted via the post or a courier, but that is also moving to the online world.

Sadly I’ve also seen people with little clue about sending letters (and parcels) be ripped off by postal clerks who obviously upsale, without informing the customer, I would be put off by that.

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Like many industries, increased prices and poorer service. :cry::broken_heart:

@CorvusCorax I too wished I had joined a little sooner, primarily for the price of sending letters and postcards.

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