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The growth on the parcel delivery market more than offsets decrease on the postal market

More parcels and fewer letters and cards were sent in 2017 compared with 2016. Taken together however, these markets did grow: over EUR 3.2 billion was made from the delivery of parcels and letter-size mail. A total of 420 million parcels were transported, and, as a result thereof, the combined turnover of parcel delivery companies increased by 9% compared with 2016, totaling EUR 2.1 billion. This has been revealed by the 2017 Postal and Parcel Markets Scan that the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has published today.

The ability to choose between postal companies leads to better prices

The number of letter-size mail is dropping: 2.6 billion mailpieces were sent in 2017, 8% less than in 2016. This amounted to a turnover of EUR 1.1 billion, which was 6% less than 2016's turnover. Consumer mail constitutes 7% of the total volume of mail sent. Consumers sent an average of 10 letters and cards per person last year, a decrease from 12 per person in 2016. The remaining 93% of mail is sent by businesses.

Mail became more expensive for consumers in 2017, paying an average of 8% more per item. As provider of the universal service obligation, Dutch postal operator PostNL delivered the majority of consumer mail. For the first time in 2017, consumers had a choice of multiple operators when sending letters and cards, as postal operator Sandd started offering Christmas stamps.

Business mail that needs to be delivered the next day also became more expensive: an average price increase of 5%. On this market, too, PostNL is the largest market participant. Other postal operators did gain a few percentage points in market shares in 2017. These operators increasingly work together in order to expand their delivery area in the Netherlands. This means there has been less need for them to take advantage of PostNL's offer, mandated by ACM, than before with regard to the delivery of residual mail. However, for more than 30%, they are still dependent on PostNL. Business mail that can be delivered later than the next day became cheaper by 2%. Businesses mostly send advertisements and magazines using these slower delivery services for. Businesses have been able to choose between different postal delivery companies for this type of mail for some time, and average prices in this segment have been dropping since 2014.

Broader range of services for online stores

Businesses are able to create opportunities on the growing market for parcels. An increasing number of postal companies also focus on parcel delivery. And these companies offer additional services as well. For example, online stores are able to store their stock with postal delivery companies, and let them take care of everything else: from the order placed by consumers to the parcel's delivery. By doing so, parcel delivery companies are able to offer their customers added value and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Consumers benefit from more options in delivery times and faster deliveries. Sending parcels became cheaper in 2017. PostNL remains the biggest provider of parcel delivery services, especially for parcels from and to consumers.

Parcel lockers not taking off in the Netherlands

Parcel lockers (or parcel stations) are not used that much in the Netherlands, unlike in Belgium for example. Multiple delivery companies are often able to deliver parcels to these lockers. This offers more convenience for both customers and deliverers. Consumers do not need to be home for the delivery of their parcels, and deliverers do not waste time driving to homes where the customers are not home. This means fewer delivery trucks on the road. ACM will assess whether there are competition issues causing delivery companies to forego the use of parcel lockers.