Almost 4 billion parcels are ordered online and delivered every year in the EU. But the potential for e-commerce is much greater – while 44% of consumers buy online in their own country, far fewer (15%) order online from another country. Why? One of the biggest obstacles is the high costs of cross-border delivery. EU consumers could save over €11 billion each year if they chose from the full range of goods and services available when shopping online. Cheaper and more transparent pricing could also encourage more retailers to sell online.
Price transparency needed
The Commission announced in the Digital Single Market strategy that it will work on improving regulatory oversight in the parcel sector and look into the issue of price transparency, including the prices of small shipments. To be clear, the Commission doesn't plan any price regulation of the parcel sector. However, the big differences between prices for cross-border parcel delivery between various EU countries just don’t make sense and they discourage retailers and consumers from selling and buying across the EU. A lot of the time, the differences do not reflect the underlying cost of the parcel delivery, for example wages or geographical distance.
Key documents and info
Why are prices of cross-border delivery so high?
- Factsheet on parcel delivery
- Examples of different prices for parcel delivery
- Econometric study on letter and parcel prices by the Saint-Louis University