Published: May 2021
Pages: 143
Format: PDF & expert call




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Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021



The global parcels market exceeded US$500bn in value in 2020, up from just under US$450bn in 2018.

Asia Pacific is the largest regional parcels market by value, accounting for around 42% of the global market. North America and Europe together represent a little over 50% of the market.

China is the key growth market, representing almost 62% of the Asia-Pacific regional total by value. Chinese parcel volumes reached 83bn in 2019.

The US is still the largest country market in value terms, although China has surpassed it in volume. In Europe, Germany is the largest market with Poland and the UK having been the fastest-growing of the main countries (8.7% and 11.6% CAGR 2015-20 respectively).

Online retail is the main driver of growth in parcel delivery volumes.
– Global online sales were in excess of US$4.2trn in 2020, having grown at a rate of 25% per year.
– The largest online retail country markets are the US, UK, China and Japan.
– China has had online retail growth of more than 30% per year.

Growth is high in both emerging and developed economies.

Globally, online now accounts for almost 20% of total retail sales, up from around 7% in 2015.

Competitive landscape

The market is served by a combination of national postal operators, the global integrators and smaller, privately owned couriers.

The integrators have a global market share of around 36% by revenue. Postal operators have around 25%, with other private sector carriers having the remaining 39%.

The integrators focus on international traffic, in particular in and out of their core markets of Europe and North America. This has a much higher revenue per parcel, hence their volume market shares are significantly lower than their shares by value.

Asia and, in particular, China – where they have not been able to establish significant domestic operations – represents the biggest strategic opportunity, and challenge to their otherwise strong market position.

Some postal operators, such as the big 3 European operators (including DHL, owned by Deutsche Post), China Post and Japan Post, and also those in some smaller markets, have developed significant parcels operations. These have helped them offset the decline in their mail volumes. Most postal operators are strong in domestic services. Many also offer international services, via alliances and partnerships, which are usually competitively priced but cannot match integrator service levels.

There are a large number of other privately-owned carriers worldwide. The largest are:
– The Japanese carriers, Yamato and Sagawa
– The Chinese carriers: SF Express, ZTO, YTO, Yunda and Best Express
– Hermes, which is strong in Germany and the UK and has a presence in other European countries
Market map
UPS is the largest carrier by parcel revenues. However, FedEx has closed the gap since its acquisition of TNT Express, with third-placed Deutsche Post DHL around half the size. Despite their global profile, their large US domestic businesses account for the bulk of UPS and FedEx revenues.


We expect that the market will continue to grow, although not at the high rate seen during the COVID pandemic. This is supported by:
– Expectations of continued online retail growth, both in leading home shopping markets such as China, the US, UK and Japan; and less-mature markets, which are expected to catch up, to a degree, over the next few years.
– The on-going globalisation of supply chains with increased reliance on just-in-time production leading to ever-higher dependence on parcel carriers.

We believe that China will overtake the US to become the largest market by value in the near future. The lack of exposure to the rapidly-growing Chinese domestic market means that the global share of the integrators is likely to continue to fall.

We see several key strategic challenges for the integrators, including:

– How to work with the mega-retailers and marketplaces – e.g. Amazon and Alibaba – to benefit from their volumes without being marginalised by their potential for vertical integration

– How to find a role in the Chinese market to give them exposure to its size and growth

– How to manage and configure large delivery fleets in the face of increasing environmental legislation

What does the report cover?

The report covers the parcels market at the global level and region-by-region.
– There is necessarily most focus on the top 10 country markets (US, Canada, Germany, UK, France, Italy, China, Japan, India and Brazil), although our historical and forecast market size and growth estimates are provided for a wider range of countries.

The report provides historical and forecast market sizes covering the period from 2015-2025, segmented between B2C+Returns and B2B+C2X. Adjacent services, such as mail, pallet distribution, groupage, freight forwarding, same-day courier and contract logistics are excluded wherever data allows.

Market information is quoted in value terms and on a constant currency basis (to remove distortions due to exchange rate movements). Volume information is presented where available.

The report includes in-depth profiles of the following companies:
– FedEx
– Deutsche Post DHL
– Yamato
– SG Holdings (Sagawa Express)
– Japan Post Group
– United States Postal Service (USPS)
– Royal Mail Group
– La Poste Group (GeoPost)
– Amazon Logistics

The report draws on:
– Apex Insight’s work on the parcels markets in several key countries and regions
– Our consulting work in the industry which has included advising on market and strategic issues and the attractiveness of parcel company acquisitions

Clients purchasing it are welcome 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.

Changes since the previous version

This report has been updated and extended since the previous edition in March 2020. Significant additions and changes include the following:
– Analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on carriers and the market as a whole.
– All company financials, economic statistics and other figures have been updated to include the latest data. Where those figures are not available, our estimates of them have been re-evaluated and updated. More detailed financials for country operations have also been included.
– Drivers of the market have been updated and our market size and growth estimates reviewed and revised accordingly.
– The report now includes our historical and forecast market size and growth estimates for all countries.
– Our on-going work on the parcels sector has also allowed us to improve our market estimates by including more accurate revenues and some revenues from additional carriers and identifying, and therefore excluding, other non-parcels activity.

What are the sources and methodology?

The main sources for the report are
– Extensive desk research on the global parcel delivery market and its operators covering company accounts, websites and other sources
– Published information on key market drivers such as economic data and estimates of online retail levels and practices
– Interviews with senior-level contacts in the market

The key input to our market size estimates is a bottom-up analysis of the revenues of the parcel companies we have identified as operating in each of the main countries covered.

Adjustments have been made to compensate for missing data and to reflect the extent to which these companies are involved in other logistics activities in addition to parcels.

We have used this data as the basis on which to construct our market model.
– The model produces historical and forecast growth estimates covering the period from 2013-2023 which are based on trends in company revenue and drivers such as economic performance and levels and patterns of home shopping.
– The main model inputs and assumptions are discussed in detail in the report.

Who is it useful for?

The report is intended for:
– Owners and operators of parcel networks
– Customers of those networks, in particular, retailers who sell via the internet
– 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

About this report 2
Summary 6
Contents 12
Global parcels market background 19
Market definition 19
Characteristics of the market 19
Business vs. consumer delivery 19
Other segmentations of the market 20
Premium / economy 20
International / domestic 21
Global parcels market size 22
Regional overview 22
Largest country markets 23
Global market drivers 24
Economic growth trends 24
Online retail 25
Internet retail growth by country 26
Internationalisation of online retail 27
Challenges of increased B2C deliveries for carriers 27
Global parcels market forecasts 29
COVID-19 – please read this section first 29
Global market size 30
Global parcels market forecast by region / country 30
Europe 33
North America 34
Asia Pacific 35
South America 37
Africa 38
Middle East 39
Driver forecasts 40
Economic growth 40
Online retail 40
Risks to forecasts 42
Global market trends 43
1. Development of more effective last mile delivery solutions 43
Parcel shops and locker networks 43
Self-employed couriers 44
Delivery to the workplace 45
Home lockers and in-boot deliveries 45
2. Leading retailers playing a more active role in delivery 46
Amazon 46
Alibaba 46
JD.com 47
Argos 47
Click & Collect 48
3. Improvement in carrier systems supporting improved customer service 49
4. Increased use of technology in carrier operations 49
Hub and depot automation 49
Last mile delivery technology 50
PoD improvements 51
Blockchain 51
5. Variations in, or alternatives to, hub and spoke models 52
6. New entrants with different business models 53
7. Growth of same day delivery 54
8. Evolving role of postal operators 56
9. Increased role of brokers to serve the C2X segment 57
10. Supply chain trends leading to slower growth of B2B parcels 57
11. Environmental impact of delivery 57
Global competitive landscape 59
Integrators vs. other private carriers and postal operators 59
Integrators 59
Postal operators 59
Other carriers 60
Parcel revenues 60
Group revenues 64
Operating margins 64
Volumes 65
Revenue per parcel 65
Carrier Alliances 66
Post office and independent carrier alliances 66
Mergers and Acquisitions 67
Major strategic moves which have shaped the industry 67
FedEx acquisition of TNT 68
Recent acquisition activity 68
Outlook for competitive landscape 71
Global Parcel Carrier Profiles 72
UPS 73
Description 73
Revenue 73
Segmentation 73
Operations / Geographical Presence 76
Profit 76
Acquisitions 77
Significant News 77
Deutsche Post DHL 78
Description 78
Revenue 78
Segmentation 78
Operations / Geographical Presence 80
Profit 81
Acquisitions 81
Significant News 81
FedEx Corporation 83
Revenue 83
Segmentation 83
Operations / Geographical Presence 86
Profit 86
Acquisitions 86
Significant News 87
Yamato Holdings 88
Revenue 88
Segmentation 88
Operations / Geographical Presence 90
Profit 91
Acquisitions 91
Significant News 91
Japan Post Group 93
Revenue 93
Segmentation 93
Operations / Geographical Presence 94
Acquisitions 95
Significant News 95
Royal Mail 96
Revenue 96
Segmentation 96
Operations / Geographical Presence 98
Profit 98
Acquisitions 98
Significant News 99
USPS 100
Revenue 100
Segmentation 101
Operations / Geographical Presence 103
Profit 103
Acquisitions 103
Significant News 103
Le Groupe La Poste 105
Revenue 105
Segmentation 105
Operations / Geographical Presence 106
Profit 107
Acquisitions 107
Significant News 108
SG Holdings (Sagawa Express) 109
Revenue 109
Segmentation 109
Operations / Geographical Presence 110
Profit 111
Acquisitions 111
Significant News 111
Amazon Logistics 112
Volumes 112
Operations 112
Amazon Air (Prime Air) 113
Amazon Lockers 114
Shipping with Amazon 114
Amazon Key 115
SF Express 115
Regional parcels markets 118
Europe 119
Market definition 119
Characteristics of the market 119
Business vs. consumer delivery 119
Other segmentations of the market 120
Premium / economy 120
International / domestic 120
Market value 121
North America 123
United States 124
Parcel delivery market size 124
US Competitive Landscape 125
Carrier Overview 125
Asia Pacific 127
China 128
China Parcels Market Value 128
Growth rate comparison: China vs. other markets 128
China Parcels Market Volume 129
Revenue per parcel 129
B2B / C2X and online retail delivery (B2C / C2C) 130
China – Competitive Landscape 130
Overview 130
South / Central America 133
Africa 134
Middle East 135
Appendix 1: definition of regions 136
Appendix 2: Country-by-country historical and forecast parcels market size and growth 137

List of charts and tables

Global parcels market value, 2014-2019 (US$m) 22
Global parcels market value by region, 2014-2019 (US$m) 23
Global parcels market value by region, 2014-2019 (US$m) 23
Global parcels market: largest country markets, 2014-2019 (US$m) 23
GDP of Leading Economies, 2014-2019 / US$bn, % CAGR 24
Online retail value worldwide, 2012-2019 (US$bn) 25
Online retail sales by region, 2014-2019 / US$bn 26
Online retail sales - largest countries, 2014-2019 / US$bn 26
Online retail sales - largest countries, 2014-2019 / US$bn 26
Comparison of online retail sales in major economies, 2014-19 27
Global parcels market forecast, 2014-2024 (US$bn) – revised to reflect COVID-19 29
Global parcels market forecast, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 30
Global parcels market forecast by region / US$bn 30
Global parcels market forecast by region, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 32
Global parcels market forecast by largest countries, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 32
Europe parcels market forecast, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 33
Europe parcels market forecast by country, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 33
North America parcels market forecast, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 34
North America parcels market forecast by country, 2014-2024 (US$m) 34
Asia Pacific parcels market forecast, 2014-2024 (US$m) 35
Asia Pacific parcels market forecast by country, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 36
South America parcels market forecast, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 37
South America parcels market forecast by country, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 37
Africa parcels market forecast, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 38
Africa parcels market forecast by country, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 38
Middle East parcels market forecast, 2014-2024 (US$m) 39
Forecast GDP of Leading Economies, 2014-2024 / US$bn, % CAGR 40
Forecast online retail value worldwide, 2014-2024 (US$bn) 40
Forecast online retail value by region, 2014-2024 41
Forecast online retail value of major countries, 2014-2024 41
Hermes parcel shop in the UK 44
DHL testing in-boot deliveries 46
Argos same day delivery 48
STO Express warehouse robots in China 50
Starship delivery robot in Milton Keynes 51
Stuart same day delivery 53
UPS electric vehicle manufactured by Arrival 58
Rivian built Amazon electric vehicle 58
Parcel revenues of leading companies, 2014-2019 (US$m) 60
Global parcel revenues by region, 2019 63
Global parcel companies’ group revenue, latest revenues (US$m) 64
Global parcel companies by operating margin (parcels), 2014-2019 (%) 64
Global parcel delivery companies by parcel volume (m), latest available data 65
Global parcel companies: revenue per parcel ($), 2014-2019 66
Recent parcels acquisition activity, 2011-2019 69
UPS revenue, 2010-2019 / US$m 73
UPS revenue by major division, 2010-19 US$m 73
UPS revenue by segment (parcel operations), 2014-19 / US$m 74
UPS parcel volumes by segment (parcel operations), 2014-19 / m 75
UPS revenue per parcel, 2010-19 / US$ 75
UPS revenue by segment (parcel operations), 2014-19 / US$m 76
UPS Inc. Acquisitions 2004-2019 77
DPDHL revenue, 2010-2018 / US$m 78
DPDHL revenue by division, 2013-2018 / US$m 78
DPDHL revenue by segment (parcels operations), 2014-2018 / US$m 79
DPDHL Q1-Q3 financial results, 2020 79
DPDHL parcel volumes by division, 2014-2018 / Growth % 80
DPDHL revenue per parcel, 2013-18 / $ 80
DPDHL operating profit by division, 2014-18 81
Deutsche Post DHL Acquisitions 2004-2017 81
FedEx revenue, 2014-2019 / US$m 83
Parcels vs. other 83
FedEx revenue by division, 2016-19 US$m 84
FedEx Express revenue by segment (parcel operations), 2016-19 / US$m 84
FedEx parcel volume by segment, 2016-2019 85
FedEx parcel volume by segment, 2016-2019 85
FedEx revenue per parcel, 2016-19 / US$ 85
FedEx profit by segment, 2016-19 / US$m 86
FedEx profit margin by segment, 2016-19 / % 86
Yamato Group revenue, 2010-2019 US$m 88
Parcels vs. other 88
Yamato Group revenue by division (parcels vs. other), 2010-19 $m 88
Yamato Group parcels revenue by type, 2010-2019 / US$bn 89
Revenue growth of Yamato delivery services, 2010-19 / $m; CAGR % 90
Yamato Group parcel volumes by segment, 2013-2019 90
Yamato Group revenue per item, 2013-2019 $ 90
Yamato Group profit by division, 2013-2019 $m 91
Japan Post Group revenue, 2010-2019 / US$bn 93
Parcels vs. other 93
Japan Post Group revenue by division, 2014-2019 /US$m 93
Japan Post Group revenue growth by division, 2014-19 / % 94
Japan Post Group parcel volumes by type, 2016-18 94
Royal Mail Group revenue, 2011-2019 / $m 96
Parcels vs. other 96
Royal Mail Group revenues by segment, 2013-2019 96
Royal Mail Group parcels revenue by segment, 2013-2019 97
Royal Mail Group revenue growth, 2013-19 / CAGR % 97
Royal Mail Group parcel volumes 2013-19 97
Royal Mail Group revenue per parcel 2013-19 / US$ 97
Royal Mail Group operating profit 2013-19 / $m 98
Royal Mail acquisitions 2015-18 99
USPS revenue, 2010-2019 / US$m 100
Parcels vs. other 101
USPS revenues by division, 2013-2019 101
USPS revenues by division, 2014-2019 / $m 101
USPS Shipping and Packages division revenues by segment, 2016-19 $m 102
USPS Shipping and Packages division revenues CAGR, 2016-19 102
USPS Shipping and Packages volumes, 2016-2019 102
USPS revenue per parcel 103
Le Groupe La Poste revenues, 2013-2019 $m 105
Parcels vs. other 105
Le Groupe La Poste revenues by division, 2014-2019 105
Le Groupe La Poste parcel revenues by segment, 2014-19 $m 106
Le Groupe La Poste revenue growth by segment, 2014-19 $m 106
Le Groupe La Poste parcel volume by segment, 2014-18 m 106
Revenue per parcel 2014-2018 106
Le Groupe La Poste profit margin by division, 2014-2018 107
Le Groupe La Poste Acquisitions 2004-2019 107
SG Holdings revenues, 2010-2018 $m 109
Parcels vs. other 109
SG Holdings revenue by segment, 2010-2019 $m 109
SG Holdings parcel volumes by segment, 2013-19 (m) 110
SG Holdings Delivery division revenue per parcel, $ 110
SG Holdings profit by division, 2014-2019 111
Amazon’s logistics facilities worldwide, 2020 113
Amazon fulfilment centre in Tilbury, Essex, UK 113
Amazon Air plane 114
SF Holding financial performance, 2015-2018 (RMB m) 116
SF Holding financial performance, 2015-2018 (US$ m) 116
SF Express parcel volume, 2014-2018 116
SF Express average revenue per parcel, 2014-18 116
SF Express revenue by sub-segment, 2017-2018 (RMB) 116
SF Express revenue by sub-segment, 2017-2018 (US) 117
Europe parcels market value, 2014-2019 (US$m) 121
Europe Parcels Market Value by Country, 2014-2019 (US$m) 122
North America Parcels Market Value, 2014-2019 (US$m) 123
North America Parcels Market Value by Country, 2014-2019 (US$m) 123
US parcels market value and growth, 2014-2019 / US$m 124
US parcels market value and growth, 2014-2019 / US$m 125
Asia Pacific parcels market value, 2014-2019 (US$m) 127
Asia Pacific parcels market value by country, 2014-2019 (US$m) 127
China Parcels Market Size, 2007-2019 (RMB bn) 128
China Parcels Market Size, 2007-2018 (RMB / US$ bn) 128
China Parcels Market Volume: 2007-2019 (m) 129
China Parcels Market Volume and Growth: 2007-2019 (m) 129
Revenue per parcel: 2007-2019 / RMB 130
Marketplaces 130
Carriers 130
Open local delivery platforms 131
Parcel shop and locker networks 132
South America Parcels Market Value, 2014-2019 (US$m) 133
South America Parcels Market Value by Country, 2014-2019 (US$m) 133
Africa Parcels Market Value, 2013-2018 (US$m) 134
Africa Parcels Market Value by Country, 2014-2019 (US$m) 134
Middle East Parcels Market Value, 2014-2019 (US$m) 135
Global parcels market value by country, 2014, 2019, 2024 / $m 137

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