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Parcel market in Belgium - statistics & facts

Parcel services have become the main source of revenue for postal services and logistics companies across the world. The aggregate need to transport customer goods as postal services are mostly triggered by the rise in the use of the internet to shop and fulfil basic daily purchases. Despite its well-advanced market economy, Belgium still lags behind neighboring countries in terms of parcel delivery and e-commerce infrastructure. This makes the Belgian market one of the potential economies with high unexplored market potential for parcel delivery services. The volume of parcel and express services in Belgium almost quadrupled during the recent decade, reaching 266 million units by 2019. In 2019, firms operating in the Belgian parcel and express services market generated over 1.4 billion euros in revenue, up from roughly 660 million euros in 2010.

From traditional commerce to e-commerce

Compared to other countries in the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg) region, Belgium held a relatively weaker digital buyer penetration, which was only 46 percent in 2012. Various public and private efforts in Belgium incentivized an increase in the share of the population that had made an online purchase. For instance, building a trustworthy commerce relation with an online purchase can be difficult for people to overcome at first, which is a status quo bias. To break this status quo bias, companies and organizations work to make online sales as much advanced as possible, perhaps more convenient than traditional shopping. Consequently, the share of people using e-commerce platforms in Belgium reached roughly 70 percent, which is a remarkable expansion for new market opportunities. Despite all developments in the e-commerce sector in Belgium, a lot more effort is required in the country for a smooth digitalized economic infrastructural development. This argument is supported by a 2019 survey with a large sample of people in Belgium. The survey revealed that only 12 percent of surveyed in Belgium do online shopping every week. Since 2016, the market share of B2C e-commerce spending in total shopping expenditure in Belgium increased steadily, reaching roughly one-fifth of the total market share in 2019. The total revenue of e-commerce sales in Belgium experienced a similar growth path. Firms operating in Belgian e-commerce market reported over 11.4 billion euros sales revenue in 2019.

Firms operating in the Belgian parcel delivery market

The rise of electronic mail and different means of communication makes mail letter post more and more obsolete each year. While the letter post volume and revenue declines, the opposite is the case for parcels and express delivery services in Belgium. During 2019, approximately 51 percent of the postal and parcel industry revenue in Belgium was generated from parcels and express delivery services. DHL, Belgian Post (bpost), GLS, and Mondial Relay are some of the main parcel delivery firms operating in Belgium as of 2020. Although bpost is the local post services of the country, DHL has a wider-network than bpost in terms of parcel shops and points across Belgium. Since the beginning of 2000s, bpost tried to modernize its postal services infrastructure to keep up with the pace of economic and social changes in the age of digitalization. As a result, the company could regain more and more market power in the country. For instance, during the recent six years, the company increased its revenue flows steadily, reaching roughly 3.8 billion euros in revenue in 2019. Yet, because of modernization efforts, bpost necessarily invests heavily in its business operations. Therefore, the company’s net profit did experience a somewhat sluggishness over recent years.

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Parcel market in Belgium

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