Cross-border parcel delivery services 2021

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Executive Summary

In 2021, parcels increased by 18.7% and revenues by 13.7%

In 2021, the number of parcels processed in postal networks of the main parcel service providers in Portugal increased by 18.7%, with turnover increasing by 13.7%.

The most significant growth occurred in incoming international parcels whose traffic increased by 40.3%, followed by domestic parcels (+12.6%) and outgoing international parcels (+10.7%).

This growth in parcel traffic is linked to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 2020 and 2021 saw consecutive all-time highs for e-commerce users and the highest growth in the last decade, reflecting the lockdown of the population and the shutdown of shops. In 2021, around 52% of individuals reported having used e-commerce in the last 12 months (+7 p.p. than in 2020 and +13 p.p. than in 2019).

International parcels represented 36.6% of traffic and 51.3% of revenues

Of the total number of parcels, 63.4% were domestic parcels, 27.0% originated in other countries (incoming international parcels) and 9.6% originated in Portugal and were sent abroad (outgoing international parcels). In total, international parcels accounted for 36.6% of the traffic.

On the other hand, 48.7% of the parcel revenue of the main providers in Portugal was generated by domestic parcels, 19.6% by incoming international parcels and 31.7% by outgoing international parcels. In other words, international parcels accounted for 51.3% of the turnover of this service.

The European Economic Area was the source or destination of 34.1% of parcels and generated 37.6% of revenues

Around 97.0% of international parcels received in Portugal and 81.9% of outgoing international parcels originated from or were destined to countries within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Taking all international parcels (incoming and outgoing parcels) together, the EEA was the source or destination for 93.0% of international parcels and 34.1% of total traffic.

EEA countries represented 89.3% of the turnover of incoming international parcels and 63.3% of the turnover of outgoing international parcels. In total, the EEA accounted for 73.2% of the turnover of international parcels and 37.6% of the total turnover of this service.

Unit revenue from parcels was EUR 4.95

In 2021, the average revenue per parcel was EUR 4.95, a decrease of 4.3% compared to the previous year. Unit revenue from incoming international parcels was the lowest (EUR 3.59), followed by unit revenue from domestic parcels (EUR 3.80) and outgoing international parcels (EUR 16.32).

Compared with the previous year, there was a decrease of 2.7% and 9.8% in unit revenue from domestic parcels and incoming international parcels, respectively, and an increase of 2.2% in unit revenue from outgoing international parcels.

The average unit revenue of non-EEA bound traffic was 2.6 times higher than the revenue of EEA bound traffic, while the unit revenue of traffic from non-EEA countries was 3.9 times higher than the revenue of traffic from EEA countries.

On the other hand, unit revenue from incoming international parcels was 5.5% lower than unit revenue from domestic parcels.

Total number of employees fell by 1.4%

In 2021, the number of workers associated (not exclusively) with the provision of parcel delivery services decreased by 1.4%. The number of full-time workers increased by 0.3%, while the number of part-time and temporary workers decreased by 7.6% and 8.0%, respectively.

The number of full-time workers represented 86.0% of the total, while part-time and temporary workers accounted for 2.5% and 11.9%, respectively.

85.4% of the subcontractors delivered parcels

In 2021, 8 parcel delivery service providers subcontracted 562 companies. Most of the subcontractors were involved in parcel distribution (85.4%) and transport (25.1%).