Mail sorting centres have seen an increase in the number of trampolines and gym equipment delivered to people's homes during the pandemic, but post offices are being warned to not anticipate normal service to bounce back anytime soon.
Post offices have been told to expect operational changes to cope with an "uncertain future" because of a significant decline in business during the Covid-19 crisis.
While there has been a significant increase in the delivery of parcels, including heavy and bulky items being delivered after being bought online, An Post chief executive David McRedmond has told post offices these packages do not offset business losses incurred during the crisis.
Letter deliveries, foreign currency transactions, bill pay services and Western Union transactions are down significantly, he told postmasters in a letter seen by the Sunday Independent, with business volumes across the board down 30pc.
"In our mails and parcels business, our letters' volume is 25pc lower than it was pre-Covid-19, mainly due to the shutdown of business and the focus on the Covid-19 crisis," he wrote.
"We expect this pattern to continue over the coming months. This will lead to a very serious decline in our income during 2020.
"As many of you know, our ecommerce parcel volumes are way up and that increase will offset this to some extent, but not all the way as parcels are more expensive to deliver."
He said this will require the company and its post offices to adapt, "reducing the work on mail while increasing the focus on parcel delivery".
There has also been a huge drop-off in the number of over-the-counter services being availed of, with some foreign currency "almost 100pc down" on pre-Covid-19 levels.
"It is clear that what we regard as our 'normal' way of life will not return for a long time, if ever," McRedmond added.
"This dramatic reduction in our income means that we have to take measures to ensure the sustainability of the business for the remainder of the year and into 2021."