By Rahab Mbiriti (Statistician)
International parcels handled by Posta Kenya almost halved from 27 million registered in 2016 to 14 million in 2017 as presented in the 2018 Economic Survey carried out by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
Total registered and insured items posted, dropped by 4.3 percent from 921,000 in 2016 to 881,000 in 2017 mainly on account of a 7.1 percent decrease in the domestic component. The total number of unregistered correspondences handled decreased by 12.9 percent to 61 million in 2017 partly explained by a 17.2 percent drop in domestic unregistered correspondence posted.
The total number of money orders issued decreased by 18.7 percent from 870,000 in 2016 to 707,000 in 2017. This is partly attributed to competition with mobile money transfer services which has negatively affected the use of postal financial services.
The digital revolution has brought in innovations that have seen traditional postal services replaces. Such is the case as with the reduction in the number of money orders issued. M-Pesa services among other international efficient money transfer services such as the PayPal have almost completely taken over Posta’s services involving money transfers.
E-mail services, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Twitter, are similarly posing threats to the physical letter delivery service provider.
In October 2017, Posta said it had about 50,000 idle letterboxes around the country meaning that there has been significant abandonment since then. Despite this, figures from the KNBS indicate that there was a 2.6 percent increase in the number of post offices from 623 in 2016 to 639 in 2017. This growth is attributed to the opening of new postal outlets in some universities and other areas
In efforts to keep up with the digital evolution, Posta has recently partnered with Jumia to enable its customers to receive items bought on the website through post offices across the country. Posta also unveiled MPost, an innovative product that enables any mobile user to use their phone to receive letters.