The report provides historical market size figures in value and volume terms from 2011-2018. Our forecast (also in value and volume) runs from 2019-2023.
This report reviews the UK parcels market encompassing the business-to-business, business-to-consumer and consumer/small business consigned segments. Having been refined, extended and improved over the last 14 years, it is the leading survey of the UK parcels market, used by many carriers, and other parties with interests in the industry.
The report also carried out an in-depth analysis of the relevant drivers of industry growth, in particular, the macroeconomic environment, retail sales and home shopping setting out historical trends and available forecasts.
There is an in-depth competitive landscape section which compares the operating models, strategies and performance of all the national parcels networks. It also evaluates new entrants to the market, such as brokers, parcel shop and locker networks and cross-border B2C specialists.
The report is intended for parcels carriers themselves, users of their services, partners, investors, banks, analysts, consultants and other parties with interests in the sector.
The report is based on
- Financial analysis of the accounts of companies in the industry
- Discussions with our network of senior-level contacts in the market
- In-depth analysis of the macroeconomic environment and relevant market drivers
- Extensive desk research
- Our own experience of advising both carriers and investors in the parcels industry
Information from these sources has been synthesised and presented clearly and concisely with extensive use of charts and tables to illuminate points and support conclusions.
Market growth and segmentation
The UK parcels market will exceed £12bn in 2019, with growth driven mainly by home shopping in the face of the patchy performance of the UK economy.
The three main market segments (business-to-business, business-to-consumer and consumer/small business-consigned parcels) were traditionally regarded as distinct markets served by different providers.
However, there has been convergence as:
- Home shopping growth has made consumers an increasingly attractive segment, drawing business carriers to enter the area where they believe they can serve it profitably.
- Consumer carriers have invested in tracking and tracing systems and introduced premium services.
- New services have been developed by both carriers and third parties such as internet brokers to give consumers and small businesses access to a much wider range of options.
B2C is now clearly the largest segment and, given its faster growth, the market will become increasingly skewed to B2C in the future. The author expects B2C to represent 53% of market value and 73% of volume by 2023.
Same day delivery is a potentially important segment and is being offered as a premium option by more retailers but current take up is low, at well under 1% of home delivery orders.
Key industry issues
An ongoing challenge for operators has been the development of a model to serve last mile home deliveries profitably, enabling them to exploit the growth segment without damaging their overall economics and service levels. To that end, most have invested in parcel shop networks to provide additional delivery options. Other options, such as the use of cargo bikes, special urban depot configurations and even mobile depots, appear more viable now than in the past.
Customer retention remains a challenge in the B2C segment where large retail customers both negotiate a hard bargain and have a higher propensity to switch, creating greater instability within the market and more share mobility amongst carriers
Having risen for several years, Industry margins have now fallen as powerful customers, such as the big retailers, have negotiated down price increases in a competitive market.
The organic growth records of leading carriers show a significant degree of divergence between winners and losers.
Operators who have gained share include:
- Amazon Logistics, which has now rolled out to c.50 depots and delivers the majority of parcels on behalf of its parent and also marketplace sellers
- Hermes, which has also been very strong in B2C based on its cost-leading business model underpinned by ongoing investments to improve its service and add capacity
- DPD, which has made a series of account wins on the back of service and systems enhancements, establishing itself as the leader at the high end of the B2C segment. While it is no longer gaining market share, DPD now has margins far higher than those of any other carrier
- Newer players with models meeting the needs of a customer segment such as brokers (Parcel2Go, ParcelHero), networks (Collect+) and international B2C specialists (P2P Mailing)
Those who have lost market share include:
- TNT Express, which has been impacted by contract losses and lack of exposure to the high-growth B2C segment
- DX, where some business was exited during the merger of the Nightfreight and DX networks and profit warnings led to a change of management
- Royal Mail which, despite a strong performance in its latest year, has been most directly affected by Amazon's ongoing insourcing of its volumes
In overall terms, the market is more competitive than in the past despite recent mergers with Royal Mail's reduction in share being the major factor.
- The author expects to see continued growth in the market as home shopping continues to grow and a recovering economy supports the outlook for B2B parcels.
- Price increases are expected to continue to be modest with the volume being the main driver of market growth.
- Amazon Logistics is likely to gain further share with the roll-out of its Shipping With Amazon service meaning it is now targeting customers who do not sell on its website or keep stocks in its warehouses.
- The last mile is ripe for innovation as both commercial and environmental pressures make the traditional van delivery model increasingly problematic
- Royal Mail
- UK Mail
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