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Parcel market in the Netherlands - statistics & facts

Parcel delivery services demonstrated high business potential with ever-increasing market demand throughout the 2000s. Technological advancements and social evolution towards more digitalization paved the way for high potential in the parcel and express services market in the Netherlands and across the globe. Yet, the traditional postal services such as mail delivery are on a systematic decline. In 2018, Germany, France, and Italy were the leading markets in Europe when juxtaposing countries for domestic parcel traffic. During that period, the Netherlands had only the sixth-highest domestic parcel traffic in Europe, with roughly 350 million parcels. Since 2012, both inbound and domestic parcel delivery industry in the Netherlands went through a steady growth in total revenue generated. By 2019, total revenue of the parcel industry in the Netherlands almost doubled, generating over 1.5 billion euros from domestic and over 1.2 billion euros from outbound parcel deliveries. Similarly, the parcel volume also doubled during the same period in the Netherlands.

E-commerce as a driver in the parcel market

It is no secret that the advancements in the digital economy are the main drivers of the parcel delivery market since parcels in usual circumstances are sent from businesses to customers (B2C) or from customers to customers (C2C) via digital platforms. Since the beginning of digital transformation, Dutch businesses widely embraced the potential of technological revolution and enhanced local infrastructure in terms of parcel delivery services. Between 2017 and 2019, the Dutch market experienced an incremental increase in the share of consumers aged 16 to 75 who used online shopping, reaching roughly 81 percent by 2019. In only fifteen years, the total revenue generated in the e-commerce market in the Netherlands improved by roughly ten times, reaching approximately 26 billion euros in 2019. Although there is snowballing use of e-commerce, people in the Netherlands are still somewhat reluctant to use some services, such as food, home and garden products. Yet, a wider-use of e-commerce services is forecasted across all product categories in upcoming years in the Netherlands

Customer preferences for Dutch parcel delivery services

One direct cost of online shopping is that people only receive the product they order after some days in the best circumstance, sometimes it goes up to a week or more. Time preferences of people for online delivery incline towards a shorter delivery time, each day of delayed consumption are costly to individuals. During a 2019 survey, over one-third of people in the Netherlands revealed that they preferred a maximum one to two days of delivery. Consequently, people are willing to pay for this service to satisfy their preferences in proportions. During another survey in 2020, Dutch respondents indicated that they were willing to pay an average of approximately four euros extra for the collection and delivery of online supermarket orders. Only 30 percent of respondents stated that they would not pay anything for delivery of grocery orders.

Companies operating in the Dutch parcel market

The Netherlands is a leading logistics and transportation economy in global comparisons. That is mostly because of the diverse firm structures in the country enabling its global competitiveness. PostNL is the market leader for domestic parcel transport in the Netherlands by total revenue comparisons, with roughly 65 percent of total market share. DHL, DPD and GLS are other three market participants for the remaining market share. Since 2014, PostNL could not increase its annual revenue continuously, which remained somewhat stagnant around 2.8 billion euros until 2019. This could be explained by the fact that the mail letter delivery revenue of the company declined over recent years. On the other hand, since 2014 the parcel delivery revenue of PostNL increased steadily, up from one billion euros in 2014 to 1.67 billion euros in 2019.

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Parcel market in the Netherlands

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