IPC: preliminary results for 2022 show the impact of energy crisis and inflation
Benefiting from the post-Covid recovery, the postal industry returned to pre-pandemic growth trends in 2021, mainly due to continued e-commerce expansion, as revealed in the IPC Global Postal Industry Report 2022 Key Findings, published today.
Holger Winklbauer, CEO of IPC states: “Posts around the world have continued to benefit from e-commerce growth linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, preliminary results for 2022 show the impact of energy crisis and inflation”.
Uplift in e-commerce drives industry growth in 2021
On aggregate, total postal industry revenue reached €465.6bn in 2021, up €25.3bn on 2020 results. Posts saw revenue growth of 3.9% on average, twice as high as the 2020 growth rate of 1.9%. The continued pandemic-driven uplift in e-commerce was the engine of industry growth, as increasing volumes saw parcel revenue rise €13.6bn. Meanwhile, industry mail revenue recovered, increasing €1.0bn, with rate increases and business mail demand supporting improved performance for some large posts. However, with volumes continuing to drop for most posts, mail division revenue continued to fall on average.
Parcels revenue continues increase despite slowing down volume growth
Although less severe than in 2020, pandemic restrictions persisted in 2021, with local and national lockdowns causing temporary surges in posts’ volumes. Sustained, although slower, demand for online delivery continued to drive performance for posts’ parcels divisions. Revenue was up 17.0% on average and parcels now represent the majority of revenue for a fifth of posts.
Mail decline slows down amid post-Covid recovery
As business, retail and hospitality sectors reopened in 2021, posts saw a partial bounce back in demand that helped slow volume declines. Nevertheless, digitalisation and e-substitution continued to impact the sector and mail volumes fell by 6.9% on average. Despite the economic recovery, more than three quarters of posts delivered fewer items in 2021 than in 2020, with a quarter seeing volumes drop by more than 10% in the year.
Revenue growth impacted by global crisis in H1 2022
The war in Ukraine coupled with increases in energy prices and the cost of living directly impacted e-commerce growth in the first half of 2022. At the same time, posts also faced increased costs. On average, and across the subset of posts that publish interim reports, group revenue was down 1.5% compared to the first half of 2021, which was marked by a strong post-Covid growth. Positive performance in the corresponding period in 2021, as well as economic uncertainty, saw mail divisions return to pre-pandemic trends: mail volumes fell 4.9% on average, driving down revenue.