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In 2012, Key Note estimates that the value of the UK postal and courier/express market declined by 13.4%. This decline is largely a result of declining revenue at courier and express businesses operating outside the universal service obligation. Due to reduced consumer and business expenditure — and, in turn, depressed demand for parcel delivery services — across the UK, this segment of the market experienced significant decline in 2012.
The UK postal and courier/express market can be divided into two main segments: national post, which comprises universal service providers Royal Mail and private providers of national postal services; and other non-regulated international and national courier companies.
The postal industry has changed significantly in recent years, through a combination of changing communication trends among consumers and businesses, and the impact of the economic recession and continued financial uncertainty. One of main influences has been the increasing propensity among consumers and businesses to employ electronic communications over more traditional methods. This trend has been the main cause of year-on-year decline in mail volumes recorded over recent times.
Another major issue that has had an impact on the UK courier and express service in the UK in recent years is the Postal Services Act 2011. The act provided the legislative framework for a number of changes at the Royal Mail, allowing future private investment in the service and greater regulatory freedom over its operations. Also in 2011, Royal Mail was engaged in major restructuring activity, in an effort to reduce costs and to secure the financial sustainability of the universal service.
Despite significant fluctuations in recent years, the value of the UK postal and courier/express market is expected to grow over the short- to medium-term. The majority of this growth will be provided by the boom in online retailing, with the significant annual increases in this segment providing rising demand for parcel delivery services. The restructuring of Royal Mail and modernisation of the Post Office should provide future growth in the national post segment of the market, reducing costs and allowing greater procurement of Government and corporate contracts.
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