Global B2C Cross-Border Delivery Market Insight Report 2019
What does the report contain?
This report focuses on services designed for retailers and consumer brands who wish to sell internationally, requiring effective delivery services to consumers in other countries.
The main focus is on Europe, North America and China – which account for over 95% of global cross-border delivery. It sets out, for each of the main countries and globally:
– The size of the market.
– Historical growth rate
– Our forecasts for future
Key drivers of the segment – in particular the growth of online retail – are also analysed.
The report describes the competitive landscape:
– How it differs between Europe, North America and China
– What the main categories of companies involved are
– How they differ, their strengths and weaknesses relative to each other
The leading companies who serve the segment across Europe and North America are profiled, setting out what they do, how they are positioned in the market, what their strategies are and how successful they have been.
Cross-border B2C delivery services have been developed to fill a gap between high-end, B2B express services and basic, untracked postal services
Historically, international delivery in western markets was offered by:
– The integrators (UPS, FedEx, DHL), who provided a rapid, secure and fully tracked service, but at a high price point aimed at business users.
– Postal operators, who generally provided a basic service which was far slower, did not have tracking but was priced at a level which worked for B2C transactions.
Neither of these services had a good fit with the needs of retailers selling internationally, in ever-greater quantities.
Cross-border B2C services do not typically have end-to-end operations but work with a network of partners to provide delivery in the destination countries which they deliver to.
In addition to arranging delivery some cross-border specialists provide other services to make it easier for their retailer clients to sell internationally such as:
– Website localisation and translation
– Customer support
– Foreign currency payments processing
In China, the very large volumes of international parcels are mainly smaller, low value items.
Historically, delivery was carried out by China Post through its partnerships with other postal operators (UPU / EMS).
China post still has a large share but other carriers now compete
Market size and growth
Online retail is now over $2.5bn globally, with the largest countries being China, the US, UK, Germany and France
Our estimate is that there were almost 3bn cross-border B2C parcels sent in 2018 with China and Europe accounting for around 1bn each. Cross-border represents c.5% of online retail globally, but 20% in Europe
Growth has been rapid and, given online retail forecasts for further growth in the future, we expect it to continue. Effective cross-border delivery services will play an important part in enabling growth
Key market trends
International expansion by leading retailers / marketplaces
Increased use of faster / higher quality delivery services by retailers
Increasing quality and diversity of last mile services providing greater convenience and flexibility for the consumer
Carrier shift from hub and spoke to ‘web’ operational structure supports faster delivery
Carrier market gradually becoming more concentrated with share shifting from single-country independent players to integrators and postal operators
Important regulatory changes
Two key areas of regulatory change are significant for this market:
– The ending of the EU de minimis for VAT in 2021
– Changes to UPU Terminal Dues
The most likely impact of these is on items shipped from China to western consumers.
– Overall volumes of small, low value items are likely to fall
– Other carriers should be able to capture a larger share as the price advantage enjoyed by postal operators is reduced.
Cross-border services are provided by several different types of companies, some of whom also carry out other adjacent activities
– B2C resellers (eg B2C Europe, P2P) cover multiple international destinations using a large network of partners who provide delivery in the destinations they serve
– Destination specialists (eg Boxberry, NAQEL Express) are often the international arm of a carrier based in the destination they are serving, hence use their own delivery operations rather than those of partners, giving them scale to be competitive
– E-Commerce platforms (eg eShopWorld, Pitney Bowes Cross-Border) offer cross-border shipping as part of a broader range of services to enable domestic retailers to sell internationally
– Carrier services (Most B2C carriers) are improving as carriers recognise that they have missed an opportunity to serve the fastest-growing segment of their customers’ business
– Postal operators (eg Asendia, Spring) offer cross-border shipping using own operations and partners who are typically other post offices
The largest customers typically make purchase decisions on a country-by-country basis with smaller / medium-sized customers more likely to give all their international business to a single provider.
Key purchase criteria are ability to deliver the required service and price.
Switching barriers are modest, with a couple of weeks typically needed for IT integration.
The report includes profiles of the following groups:
FedEx Cross Border
Pitney Bowes Cross-Border
What are the sources and methodology?
The report is based on:
– Interviews with senior-level contacts in the market
– In-depth analysis of the macroeconomic environment and relevant parcels market drivers
– Financial analysis of the accounts of companies in the industry
– Extensive research using published and online sources, such as eMarketer, which we use for online retail forecasts
– Our own experience of advising both companies and investors in the cross-border delivery segment and in the parcels market more generally
Information from these sources has been analysed and combined to produce findings and conclusions
Who is it useful for?
The report is intended for:
– Online retailers
– Parcel carriers and logistics groups
– Investors in these businesses
– Market regulators and policymakers
– Banks, analysts, consultants and other parties with interests in the sector
Who was it written by?
The report was written by Frank Proud and Paul Chapman
Frank founded Apex Insight in 2012 and set up our Parcels and Delivery practice
His background is strategy consulting, with two firms, Bridgewater and Burlington, which were originally founded by ex-Bain teams. He has advised many clients across the logistics industry, from start-ups to global leaders.
Subsequently, he was a senior member of the Transaction Support team at EY, advising private equity firms and corporate acquirers on commercial due diligence and other acquisition-related issues.
He leads Apex Insight’s consulting work for investors and clients in the logistics industry.
He has an MA in Economics from Cambridge University.
Paul has extensive experience across a wide range of parcels, delivery and logistics markets
As well as having a leading role in Apex Insight’s research, he has worked on consulting assignments for clients and investors in the sector.
His previous experience includes being Logistics Research Manager at Datamonitor, co-founder of Analytiqa and a marketing / strategy role at Christian Salvesen.
He has a BA in Modern Languages with Business Studies from Swansea University
Clients purchasing the report are entitled to have an expert call with our analysts to discuss its findings and any questions that they may have on it or the market in general.