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Trends and facts of the Dutch postal market in 2015

Today, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has published the state of the Dutch postal market in 2015 based on a survey among 26 of the largest postal companies in the Netherlands.

Trends of the Dutch postal market

  • Postal companies compensate the drop in revenues with higher rates and new services

In 2015, consumers and businesses sent 3.1 billion mail items, which is 7 percent less than in 2014, and 41 percent less than in 2009. Consumers and businesses opt for digital alternatives more often: individuals and businesses communicate less via letters, and increasingly via email or social media. Business mail such as bank statements or bills is also replaced more and more by online solutions. However, while the number of letter-size mail items is decreasing, the market for parcel delivery is growing. In fact, the total turnover in the delivery market has grown by 4 percent since 2012. Postal companies partially compensate the drop in volume of letter-size mail with higher rates. They also focus more on parcel delivery.

  • Increased competition between delivery companies on the business market

In 2015, postal companies expanded their sorting and delivery networks. As a result, competition on the business market has increased. Business senders now increasingly choose other postal companies than PostNL to have their mail delivered. There are two types of business mail delivery: 24-hour delivery, which is delivered the next day, and 48-hour or 72+-hour delivery, which is delivered two or three days later. PostNL has always been the largest postal company for business mail in the Netherlands. It offers a complete range of delivery services for mail and parcels. PostNL is practically the only provider for consumer mail. Rival company Sandd delivers mail two days a week in the whole country. In addition, more than a hundred other postal companies deliver mail regionally or locally, often five days a week, and with a 24-hour service. In 2015, Sandd gained market share in the 72+-hour delivery market. Its market share increased from 25-30 percent to 30-35 percent. Competition in the 24-hour delivery market grew as well: the total market share of PostNL’s competitors increased from 0-5 percent to 5-10 percent in 2015.

  • Smaller postal companies depend less on PostNL’s network

Regional and local postal companies also process mail that needs to be delivered outside their own regions. They outsource the delivery of some of that mail to each other. However, for the rest of this out-of-region mail, the smaller postal companies depend on PostNL for delivery. These smaller postal companies have expanded their services. In 2015, approximately 40 percent of the mail that regional or local market participants collected from business customers was delivered through PostNL’s network. In previous years, this percentage used to be over 50 percent. The dependency of regional and local postal companies on PostNL has thus decreased. ACM oversees the conditions and tariffs that PostNL charges other postal companies for subsequent delivery.

  • Smaller postal companies expect volume and turnover to keep growing in the next few years

The market for letter-size mail is shrinking, but it is not a languishing market. Many of the smaller postal companies expect an increase in volume and turnover over the next two years, in spite of the fact that the number of mail items has been declining for years.

  • Postal delivery will be less urgent

Mail will become less urgent in terms of its nature. Postal companies are observing a shifting market: they deliver less 24-hour mail (one working day). In 2010, 1.7 billion business mail items were delivered the next working day, covering 39 percent of the business-mail market. In 2015, this number dropped to less than a billion business mail items, which was 31 percent of the market. The volume of mail that is delivered in 48 hours or 72 hours is also shrinking, but at a slower pace. Postal companies are expecting that this trend will continue. The delivery of direct mail is shrinking slightly, but postal companies believe that it will remain an effective means of communication. Postal companies are also expecting that Dutch citizens will continue to visit online stores, and that the volume of parcel delivery will thus continue to increase.