UK and European consumers are sending fewer parcels to each other

Royal Mail parcels revenue

UK and European consumers are sending fewer parcels to each other, to a large extent because they now order goods from websites which will deliver direct to the recipient, rather than getting the present and then posting it themselves. A form of e-substitution, this trend has led to the consumer & small business (C2X) market remaining largely flat in recent years.

Evidence from several major carriers, such as Royal Mail and La Poste, supports this trend, which can be seen in the chart above based on data from Royal Mail. The inference from this is that the range of networks, brokers and others which have entered this segment to serve consumers and micro-businesses, such as Parcel2Go and MyHermes, have been able to grow by taking business from postal operators rather than as a result of underlying growth in demand.

Consumers wishing to send occasional parcels have traditionally been served by postal operators with customers taking their parcel to their local Post Office and queuing to send it. Historically, other parcels carriers did not target small customers as this type of volume did not fit their business models, which rely on consolidation of pick-ups to obtain superior economics. This, plus the fixed costs of setting up and operating an account made small customers unprofitable.

However, other business models have now developed the ability to serve this segment, via an online presence and / or physical locations such as parcel shops or lockers without incurring the high fixed costs which previously made it unattractive.

Our latest reports cover trends in the C2X segment in Europe and the UK
European Consumer & Small Business Parcels Services (C2X): Market Insight Report 2019.
UK Consumer & Small Business (C2X) Parcels Services: Market Insight Report 2019.

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