Keeping it classy

Although more people than ever use smartphones, social media and other digital platforms to keep in touch with friends and family, some customers still turn to First-Class Mail for their correspondence needs.

First-Class Mail — which includes personal letters and greeting cards, as well as bills, bank statements and other pieces — is the Postal Service’s most profitable product. First-Class Mail volumes have steadily declined in the digital age, but the service still has its fans.

According to the latest Household Diary Study, a national research effort sponsored by USPS, 989 million non-holiday greeting cards were mailed in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2018, reflecting a 3 percent increase over a three-year period.

More than 1.3 billion holiday greeting cards were sent, a 3.8 percent increase during the three-year period.

Although personal letters represent a small percentage of most households’ mail mix, the number of personal letters mailed during fiscal year 2018 — about 436 million — is still sizable.

It’s no wonder First-Class Mail service remains popular with some: It’s affordable.

A First-Class Mail Forever stamp costs 55 cents, the current 1-ounce price, but these stamps never expire, even if first-class postage rates go up.

About the Business,” a regular feature in Link, looks at the business of USPS.