The courier industry is changing and growing every year. According to Ibis World, the market size of the Couriers & Local Delivery Services industry in the US has grown an average of 6.9% per year between 2017 and 2022. With this steady growth comes changes, especially compared to many years ago. In this blog post, we are going to take a look at how the courier industry has evolved over time, as well as where it might be heading in the future.

The First Couriers

We have to go back pretty far in history to find the beginning of the courier industry, per se. Looking at ancient times, we can see that courier-type systems existed even then. For example, runners, horseback riders, and even pigeons were used to deliver messages over short and long distances. It’s safe to say that we have come a long way since then!

Continuing to look at the past, there was an organized postal service in the Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus Caesar. Called cursus publicus, this delivery system was composed of carriages pulled by horses. We can see that there has always been a need to send and receive messages and packages.

The 19th Century

In the 19th century, the modern courier industry started to take shape. Railroads and steamships came into the picture. These two advancements enabled faster and more efficient transportation of goods and mail. In 1883, the United States introduced the Parcel Post service. This allowed the individuals from the public to send packages through the postal system themselves, which was a significant milestone in the expansion of courier services.

In the late 19th century, private express companies such as Wells Fargo, American Express, and United Parcel Service (UPS) started to emerge. They specialized in fast and secure delivery services, primarily catering to businesses and financial institutions.

The 20th Century

With the development of commercial aviation in the early 20th century, the courier industry experienced a major transformation. Airplanes allowed for faster and long-distance deliveries, revolutionizing the industry. Air courier services continue to be a convenient option for companies that need to ship something quickly over a long distance.

Did you know that Modern Express offers air courier services? We do! Whether you are importing or exporting, shipping domestically, or needing next flight out delivery services, we can provide the services to streamline your delivery needs. Learn more!

Shortly after World War II, the demand for courier services grew rapidly, due to increased international trade and globalization. Companies like FedEx and DHL were founded during this time. They offered global courier services, which hadn’t been available prior.

Increased Demand in the Digital Age

The rise of the internet and e-commerce in the late 20th century had a profound impact on the courier industry. With online shopping, the demand for quick and reliable package delivery skyrocketed, leading to significant growth for courier companies. Before long, thanks to companies like Amazon, two-day and overnight shipping became standard expectations rather than preferred luxuries. Individuals began to expect quick shipping from all companies, not just the big ones.

More recently, the courier industry has seen advancements in technology that have majorly benefited operations. This includes the use of GPS tracking systems, mobile applications for real-time updates, automated sorting facilities, and the exploration of drone and autonomous vehicle delivery options. These advancements have streamlined shipping processes.

Present Day

The courier industry continues to thrive as a vital part of global logistics networks. Millions of parcels are shipped every day, billions are shipped every year, and that number is only increasing. This means that the need for couriers isn’t going anywhere. Courier companies play a crucial role in facilitating fast and reliable delivery of packages and documents, supporting e-commerce, and meeting the evolving demands of consumers and businesses worldwide. As drone technologies advance, drones are becoming a huge asset to the courier industry.

Looking Ahead

Who knows what the future of the courier industry holds? We are seeing delivery estimates becoming more precise, and we can expect them to become even more accurate as technology improves. With artificial intelligence getting smarter and smarter, and technologies like driverless cars becoming a reality, one thing is for sure: there is a lot of room for major growth in the not-too-distant future. We’re here for whatever innovation it brings!

Courier Services in Northern California

The courier industry has come a long way since ancient times, and it will continue to evolve as new technologies emerge. At Modern Express, we are excited to see the future of our industry and be a part of its growth in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our comprehensive courier services include same-day, overnight, and even two-hour delivery. If you’re looking for an experienced shipping partner for your business that you can trust, contact our team today!