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The United Kingdom withdrew from the EU on 31 January, 2020. The 2020 edition of the Single Market Scoreboard refers to time periods preceding the withdrawal of the UK, and the UK is therefore listed as a Member State.

Postal services

Reporting period:
01/2018 – 12/2018

Postal services play a key role for citizens and businesses in the single market.

Employing about 1.8 million people, the the postal services – including express services – is major source of jobs in the EU

More information about Postal services.

Postal Services and the Single Market – why does it matter?

With the Postal Services Directive, the EU is working to create a single market in 2 stages:

  1. introducing competition by gradually opening up markets (completed at the end of 2012);
  2. ensuring that affordable, reliable, high quality postal services are permanently available throughout the EU.

Key messages

  • Public prices are increasing over time, but more for letters from one EU country to another than for post in a single country.
  • All countries charge much more for deliveries abroad.
  • The biggest gaps between the cost of sending post from one country to another and sending post in a single country occur mainly in some eastern EU countries.


Trend in letter mail prices (2012-2018)

The trend line shows the evolution in purchasing power parities (PPPs) of the public prices of sending a 20 g priority letter.

PPPs are the number of currency units a particular quantity of goods or services costs in different countries, used as indicators of price level differences across countries.

Priority mail prices in PPPs (2017)

The graph below shows the public tariff in PPPs of sending 20 g letters.

  •  Blue  – prices for post sent from one EU country to another
  •  Green  – prices for post in a single country.
Main findings


Facts and figures

Domestic transit time performance

Transit time is the time it takes to deliver postal items. This is measured from the time of dispatch (when a person posts a item) to the its arrival at the final destination (when the postal service delivers the item to the house or premises of the recipient).

Using the same methodology as in the EU postal sector study, the chart above shows the percentage of priority mail delivered by the next working day (D+1), in the same country.

It divides EU countries into 3 groups, on the basis of (1) their GDP per capita and (2) when they joined the EU:

All clusters
Eastern Europe
Southern Europe
Western Europe

* Member States’ revised figures for 2013, compared to the last Single Market Scoreboard

Main findings
  • Most western countries meet the next-day target in 90 % of cases, but the performance of some is deteriorating.
  • The performance of eastern and southern countries, with a few exceptions, is deteriorating.
  • The performances of Romania, Poland and Bulgaria, which fall far below the EU average anyway, are continuing to deteriorate. In Greece, next-day delivery fell significantly in 2017.
  • There is no data on next-day delivery in Spain as the Spanish legal performance standard is “delivery by the 3rd working day”. No data has been published on Austria and the Netherlands, as confidentiality applies to some or all of the years concerned.

More information

Under the universal service obligation, Member States must ensure a basic postal service is available. This includes:

The postal sector is changing rapidly. Letter traffic has fallen in many countries, partly because of the growth in digital communications. However, the growth in e-commerce has increased the number of parcels being handled by postal services. So it is important for the postal industry to make it easier to deliver physical goods bought online.

The figures are based on data on postal services collected by the Commission.