Combined sales of comics periodicals and graphic novels in North America continued to climb in 2020, reaching approximately $1.28 billion, according to a joint estimate by pop culture trade news sites ICv2 and Comichron. The new estimate represents a 6% increase over 2019 combined sales. ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp said that in the face of a global pandemic, lockdowns, and widespread economic dislocation, consumer demand for comics and graphic novels continued to grow. “The challenges of retailing in the pandemic had profound impacts on the market, including the acceleration of trends that have been in place for years,” he reported.
The U.S. Postal Service reported fourth-quarter service delivery performance data through the first half of July that showed ongoing improvement across all First-Class, Marketing and Periodical mail categories from the third quarter ended June 30.
Fourth-quarter service performance for July 1 through July 16 included:
*First-Class Mail: Delivered 89.3 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of nearly 2 percentage points from the third quarter.
*Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.0 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 1 percentage point from the third quarter.
*Periodicals: Delivered 83.0 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of nearly 4 percentage points from the third quarter.
The Postal Service’s continued improvement despite seasonal effects from the Independence Day federal holiday anticipated during for the period of July 10 to July 16.
The Postal Service’s recent service delivery improvements have been, in part, the result of a strategic shift to more ground deliveries, decreasing the agency’s reliance on the limited cargo capacities of third-party air carriers.
“Delivering for America,” the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for financial sustainability and service excellence, seeks to meet or exceed its goal of 95 percent on-time service performance for all mail and shipping product delivery based on standards as all elements of the plan being implemented.
The Postal Service is preparing for the higher delivery demands of the 2021 holiday peak season through increased hiring of delivery and plant personnel, the leasing of millions of additional square feet of sortation facilities, and the installation of new processing equipment to accommodate higher volumes and customers’ evolving mail and package delivery needs. Since April, the Postal Service has installed 36 of 118 new package sorting machines, reflecting infrastructure investments under the Delivering for America plan. Markets that have installed machines include Philadelphia (PA), Traverse City (MI), Teterboro (NJ), and Huntsville (AL). Additional installations are currently underway across the country, as the Postal Service plans to have new equipment running at 118 facilities by the 2021 peak holiday season.