Online shopping fuels the enormous growth of parcel deliveries


Many Dutch consumers love to shop online. As a result, the number of parcel deliveries has grown tremendously over the past few years. In 2015, parcel delivery companies shipped 208 million parcels in the Netherlands, which is an increase of 11.3 percent compared with 2014. The number of international parcel deliveries from and to the Netherlands in 2015 grew at an even higher rate: 12.7 percent compared with 2014, for a total of 92 million parcels. These are some of the conclusions of the Parcel Market Scan carried out by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).

With this Parcel Market Scan, ACM presents a current overview of the Dutch parcel delivery market. Here are several findings:

  • The number of parcel deliveries has grown tremendously;
  • A small number of large online stores ships a huge amount of parcels, resulting in a strong buying position;
  • Average revenue per parcel has decreased;
  • PostNL is the largest player in the domestic market;
  • A growing number of service locations;
  • The service of delivery companies increasingly focuses on their customers’ needs.

Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “In the growing market for parcel deliveries, parcel delivery companies experiment with their services. For example, they also offer weekend and evening deliveries, or same-day delivery. We see a small number of large online stores shipping a huge amount of parcels. Such large-volume shippers pay lower tariffs to the parcel delivery companies, and are thus more likely to be able to offer new services than smaller online stores. Think of shorter delivery times, for example.”

Average revenue per parcel has dropped

Over the period of 2012 through 2015, the average revenues of domestic parcel deliveries have dropped EUR 0.30 per parcel to EUR 4.23, which is a decrease of 6.7 percent. For international parcels, the average revenues have decreased even more drastically, which was 20.3 percent to EUR 8.15 per parcel. 

PostNL is the largest player in the domestic parcel market

In the domestic parcel delivery market, two players have the lion’s share of the market: PostNL and DHL Parcel. PostNL has a market share of 55-60 percent and DHL Parcel has a market share of 25-30 percent. Smaller players such as DPD and GLS are also active in this market. And several local delivery companies are also active. In the international parcel delivery market, four major players can be identified: UPS, PostNL, DPD and GLS. These four companies have a combined market share of 80-90 percent. In 2015, PostNL increased its market share in this segment.

More and more service locations

All parcel delivery companies have plans to expand their service location networks. Of the 6,300 service locations for parcels in the Netherlands, PostNL in 2015 owned 2,900, and DHL Parcel owned 1,350 locations. The remaining service locations are owned by DPD (750), GLS (700) and UPS/Kiala (650).

About the Market Scan of the Parcel Market

The number of letter-size mailpieces keeps decreasing sharply, while the number of parcels continues to grow. In addition, the international parcel delivery market has attracted the attention of the European Commission. By publishing the Parcel Market Scan, ACM also launched a public consultation. Market participants that are active in the parcel delivery market have the opportunity to submit their comments to this scan until June 20, 2016.