Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Cheaper cross-border parcel delivery to boost e-commerce in the EU

Article
graphic showing 2 packages, one from Austria, one from Italy and the costs involved in shipping them within the respective countries and between them
You’re shopping online. You’ve found the perfect gift. You're at the checkout, and then… Delivery charges are how much? Forget it! Does that sound familiar?

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.

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Key documents and info

Why are prices of cross-border delivery so high?

What do consumers and retailers want?