A study by the London office of the US business advisory specialists FTI Consulting, commissioned by the EU Commission internal markets unit, has found evidence of a “two-tier” parcel market operating in the European Union, with smaller retailers paying significantly more for shipping than their larger competitors.
Currently, between 181 million and 453 million parcels are sent cross-border within Europe annually, with the average value of goods varying between €40 and €100. While currently only 9% of EU consumers order goods from other Member States, 18% of EU retailers offer a cross-border delivery service.
The evidence suggests the existence of anti-competitive practices leading to a situation in which national postal operators are not basing their prices on actual costs but on the absence of viable competition. On average, cross-border parcels sent between EU Member States cost twice as high as those sent domestically.
The report found that price regulation is not currently effectively and that even where market competition exists, prices are being “shielded” from competition. The report calls for action to promote market growth, with a key recommendation being an improvement in the availability of information available to smaller retailers, who may not be aware of alternatives to the national postal service.