Postal traffic falls by 5.1% in 3rd quarter 2021

Also influenced by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, postal traffic in Portugal decreased by 5.1% in 3rd quarter 2021 compared to 3rd quarter 2020, comprising a total of 137.5 million items.

Since the beginning of 2020, there has been a significant contraction in traffic. This is associated with the impact of COVID-19. The overall effect of COVID-19 on traffic during the seven quarters impacted by the pandemic was, on average, -8.1% per quarter. In 3rd quarter 2021, the effect of the pandemic on postal traffic is estimated to have been less severe than in previous quarters (-7.5% average). If the pandemic had not occurred, postal traffic would have decreased by 4.7%.

By type of object, traffic in correspondence, editorial mail and direct mail dropped by 6.1%, 0.6% and 14.1%, respectively, while parcel traffic increased by 4% (the smallest year-on-year increase since 3rd quarter 2017).

At the end of 3rd quarter 2021, correspondence represented 75.3% of postal traffic, while editorial mail and direct mail represented 7.5% and 5.7% respectively. Parcel traffic made up 11.6% of total traffic, a one-percentage-point increase versus the same period in 2020.

Revenues generated by providers legally authorised to provide postal services totalled around 166 million euros (an increase of 0.8% compared to 3rd quarter 2020). This growth was driven by revenue from parcels, which increased by 2.3% to represent 42.9% of total revenues (an increase of 0.6 percentage points versus 3rd quarter 2020). Average revenue per item increased by 6.2% compared to 3rd quarter 2020. This increase results from changes to the structure of traffic, specifically the increase in the proportion of parcel traffic, occurring since the end of 2018.

Postal services included within the scope of the universal service represented around 82.3% of traffic and 50.8% of revenues.

Universal service traffic decreased by 5.4% and decreased by 0.2 percentage points versus 3rd quarter 2020. Universal service revenues decreased by 0.9% overall and by 0.9 percent-age points as a proportion of total revenues.

Grupo CTT had a share of around 84.6% of postal traffic, 1.6 percentage points less than in 3rd quarter 2020. With regard to traffic covered by the universal service, Grupo CTT reported a share of around 88.9%, declining 1.7 percentage points from 3rd quarter 2020. This is the lowest value ever reported. On the other hand, Grupo CTT's share of parcel traffic was reported at 49.6% (-1.1 percentage points versus 3rd quarter 2020).

During the period being reported, there were around 15.1 thousand people involved in the operation of postal services, 73.1% of whom were employees of Grupo CTT. The number of people employed increased 1.2% compared to the same period of the previous year, mainly driven by the activity of alternative providers.

Increases were reported in the number of access points (+1.8%), distribution centres (+6.0%) and vehicles (+13.2%). The significant growth in the number of vehicles was due to the ex-pansion of the fleet of various express mail providers, in response to an increase in demand driven by the pandemic (+29.9%), and the growth in distribution centres was due to the return to the activity of one provider.

Consult the statistical report: