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ACM: turnover from letterbox-sized mail in 2021 increased for the first time in years

In 2021, the turnover in the market for letterbox-sized mail increased again for the first time in years. The number of sent letters was 2 billion, which was 0.9 percent lower than in 2020. However, as a result of higher prices and a large volume of COVID-related mail, the turnover increased by over 2.2 percent to 950 million euros. At the same time, the parcel market continues to grow strongly. These are some of the conclusions of the 2021 Postal and Parcel Markets Scan, which the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has published today.

“The number of sent letters in 2021 remained practically stable after years of decline. One of the reasons is that the government sent out many vaccination invitations by mail”, says Manon Leijten, Member of the Board of ACM. “As consumers have started to shop more online, the already rising trend on the parcel market has been given a solid boost for the second year in a row.”

Letterbox-sized mail 

The vast majority of letterbox-sized mail comes from the business market, with 1.88 billion mailpieces, which is almost as much as in 2020. The turnover in the business segment increased to 823 million euros. The average price per mailpiece increased by just under four percent.

The volume of consumer mail (which still grew in 2020) declined by over 10 percent to 118 million letters, less than in 2019. The stamp rate went up from 0.91 euros to 0.96 euros. As a result, the turnover from consumer mail was well over 127 million euros, which is a decline of 5.1 percent.

PostNL is responsible for the universal service obligation (USO), to which certain statutory standards apply. For example, PostNL is required to deliver at least 95 percent of domestic letters the next day, except on Sundays, Mondays, and public holidays. In 2021, this so-called delivery performance was below the statutory requirement, with 93.9 percent.


In 2021, over 654 million domestic parcels were sent, which is a quarter more than the year before. The turnover in the market for parcels that businesses send to consumers increased by nearly 40 percent to 1.85 billion euros. Nearly three-quarters of parcel deliveries is outsourced to subcontractors. Of the parcels delivered, 93 percent were delivered at home, 3 percent to neighbors, and 4 percent to service locations.

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