In the 1st half of 2020, postal traffic decreased 13.5% and revenues fell 5.6% due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the average revenue per item increased 9.0%
The COVID-19 pandemic was declared on 11-03-2020, and the state of emergency in Portugal was declared on 18-03-2020. The exceptional and extraordinary measures associated with the pandemic have persisted beyond the first half of 2020.
In this half of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in changes to normal service use patterns and operating difficulties, with impacts on postal service traffic and revenues.
Total postal service traffic decreased 13.5% in the first half of 2020. This downturn in traffic was the greatest since 2005.
The revenue generated by providers legally qualified to provide postal services totalled around EUR 294.5 million, 5.6% lower than in the first half of 2019. This was the most significant drop since these indicators were first collected in 2012.
As a result, the average revenue per item increased 9.0% year-on-year.
Parcels up 20.8%, reaching an all-time high
By type of item, letter, editorial mail and direct mail traffic fell from 11.7% to 17.5%, while parcel traffic was up 20.8%.
For the above-mentioned reasons, the decreases in letter and editorial mail traffic were the most significant since these indicators were first collected in 2012, while the increase in parcel traffic was the highest since the first half of 2013.
In the specific case of parcels, traffic is estimated to have fallen around 19% in the week in which the state of emergency was declared (16 to 22 March). After this initial impact, traffic rose, reaching its highest volume in the first weeks of May. Since mid-May, there has been a downward trend in traffic, with traffic volume at the end of July reaching a level similar to that prior to the declaration of the pandemic.
There has also been an acceleration in the downward trend of outbound domestic and international traffic and a decline in inbound international traffic.
At the end of the first half of 2020, letters represented 76.9% of postal traffic, while editorial mail and direct mail represented 7.5% and 6.6% respectively. The weight of parcels in the total traffic stood at 9.0%, the highest level to date.
The universal service represented 78.1% of the total traffic and 56.3% of revenue
Around 78.1% of the traffic and 56.3% of revenue corresponded to postal services covered by the universal service (US). The weight of the US in total traffic fell by 4.0 p.p. compared to the first half of 2019.
Shares per provider
The CTT Group had a share of around 86.5% of total postal traffic, 3.0 percentage points less than in the first half of 2019. The CTT Group had a share of around 97.1% of the traffic covered by the scope of the US.
The number of employees fell by 3.7%
In the first half of 2020, there were around 14.4 thousand workers providing postal services. The number of employees fell by 3.7% year-on-year. This was the largest decline since the first half of 2012. This change was influenced by the effects of the pandemic.
The number of network access points rose by 4.3%
In this half-year, the number of access points (+4.3%) and vehicles (+7.1%) rose, while the number of distribution centres fell (-1.7). The increase in access points was mainly due to the start of operations of a new collection and delivery network run by a provider.
The number of CTT post offices rose by 0.9% year-on-year, while the number of postal agencies fell by 0.7%1.
As for other material resources (wholly owned by the US concessionaire), there was a slight year-on-year increase in the number of post office boxes (+0.1%) and decreases in the number of letterboxes (-0.1%) and number of outlets where only stamps can be purchased (-8.2%).
1 The figures for CTT post offices and postal agencies for the first half of 2020 are provisional.