Marimekko of U.S. Postal Volume by Type

What Goes Through the Mail?

McKinsey and BCG did a study for the US Postal Service in 2010.  Some of the study’s deliverables are available to the public and are posted online at: and  There are many good examples of consulting work product and some interesting data on what the post office does and trends in mail delivery.  BCG put together a Marimekko chart that looks like the one I created below:

US Postal Service Volume

The chart shows postal volume by mail type–consumer, business 1st class, business standard, magazines and packages.  I was surprised how much of the volume is made up by bank statements and bills.  Ads and flyers did not surprise me!  If you think about how more transactions with banks and with businesses in general are moving on-line, you can see how some of these categories will decline significantly over the next few years.

This is another good example of how a Marimekko chart can paint an easy-to-digest picture of a complex issue.  Of course, the BCG consultants had to spend a great deal of time gathering the data, developing the summary categories and summarizing the data in a chart.

From a chart design perspective, I used one of our new color palettes–Polo, which you can download from the Charting Resources section of our web site (Palettes tab):  I then modified the colors to make the first three bars all shades of different greens, browns and blues respectively.  I’d encourage you to check out our new palettes.

Here’s a copy of the chart in PowerPoint, if you’d like to look at it more closely and play with it: