Use of postal services is declining, but users are satisfied with their evolution in 2014

The use of postal services in Portugal is decreasing - in 2014, all postal network access points saw a decline in the number of users compared to 2012. However, users of the postal network are satisfied with the overall development of the postal service. This according to the findings of a survey on the use of postal services, carried out by ANACOM every two years.

According to the latest survey, conducted in November and December 2014, "sending / receiving registered mail" was the most used postal service - used by 41.6% of users of post offices and postal agencies -, followed by "sending / receiving parcels" and "correspondence (non-priority, priority, pre-paid or express mail)." The postage items were sent by the largest number of users (27%) were those of correspondence. Meanwhile, 13% of users report sending parcels and 2% sent express mail. Permanent post offices were used by 52% of individuals.

Although it is currently possible to purchase a wide range of goods and services in post offices, respondents show a marked lack of awareness about the availability of less traditional goods and services in these post offices.

Users of post offices and postal agencies mostly used branches located in their area of residence (89.6%).

According to the survey, average waiting time, as perceived by users, was about 14 minutes in post offices and 13 minutes in postal agencies, increasing from the perceived waiting times reported in 2012. This is, incidentally, one of the aspects that generates most dissatisfaction among users of post offices and postal agencies. "Mail delivered without damage" and "performance of the counter staff" were the factors from which users of these establishments derived highest levels of satisfaction (8.6 and 8.5, respectively, on a scale 1-10).

Average satisfaction of respondents with regard to the provision of postal services is reported between 7.8 and 8.2, depending on the service. "Secrecy / inviolability of correspondence" remains the factor from which customers derive greatest satisfaction, followed by "fulfilment of advertised delivery times" and finally "price". When it comes to parcels, "mail delivered without damage" and "secrecy / inviolability of correspondence" are factors where satisfaction is highest.

With regard to the locations where mail is received, 99% of correspondence and 77% of parcels are received at home.

Among respondents receiving correspondence or parcels, about 87% have the perception that mail delivery in their residential area is carried out on a daily basis. About 3% of respondents said they would prefer distribution more frequently than once a day, while 13% of respondents consider that, according to their needs, mail could be distributed every two days or even less frequently.

Average satisfaction with the regularity of mail delivery is 8.4 points - below the results of the 2012 survey (8.6 points).

The survey, based on interviews conducted with 1,340 individuals (aged 15 years or above) residing in mainland Portugal, Madeira and Azores, also reveals that 58.5% of individual Internet users did not make an online purchase or order in 2014. Of those who made online purchases, over half indicated that at least one purchase was delivered at their home or workplace by CTT (50.5%) or by another provider of postal services (17.3%). Around 20.4 percent reported making online purchases that did not entail physical delivery (tickets for shows, e-books, etc.) and 24.2% of these respondents collected their deliveries in postal establishments.

About 19% of Internet users reported using electronic billing services in 2014.