Online shopping pushes up postal sector despite fall in traditional mail

State-owned Correos still has almost half the market.
State-owned Correos still has almost half the market. / SUR
  • Although 74% of people in Spain claim not to get letters, sales increased by 19% as more express and premium parcel services are being used

The rise in the use of the internet initially seemed to mark the end of the postal service. However the huge increase in online shopping in Spain is, paradoxically, pushing up money spent on sending by mail once again.

The latest report by the competition and markets regulatory authority, CNMC, which covers 2018, says that nine in ten online purchases led to a parcel being sent. The lion's share of this business was handled by the longest established parcel and courier companies, although Amazon now has its own Flex network, made up of self-employed using their own vehicles.

In the second half of last year, the biggest slice of the parcel business, at 48%, still went through the state-owned Correos postal service. Home-grown firms, Seur (15.7% share) and MRW (11.2%) come next, followed by DHL (6.2%).

Online sales reached 39bn

Online shopping sales in Spain reached over 39 billion euros in 2018 and helped increase postal services' revenues by 19% to almost 4.9 billion euros, even though the amount of items sent across the postal system fell by 8%. Internet shopping parcels tend to weigh more and need faster delivery and premium services, which, the report explains, is the reason for companies earning more with less volume of items.

The study adds that traditional mail, delivered on postal rounds, still accounts for 84% of the volume of items sent. Prices of sending a standard letter are below the EU average, at 50 cents, compared to 72 cents. Some 55% of people in Spain didn't visit a post office in 2018, and 74.3% didn't receive a letter by post, says the report.