Solutions to the parcel dilemma

Parcel services can position themselves with new, additional services – and generate revenue.

Consumers are prepared to pay extra for a flexible, fast and environmentally friendly parcel service.

It’s the same story every year: booming e-commerce presents post and parcel service providers with major challenges in the run-up to christmas. The number of shipments skyrockets and consumers become increasingly demanding. They expect a flexible, fast and environmentally friendly shipping service.

Customers are willing to pay extra for various additional parcel delivery services – including services that are not yet available. These are the results of the study "Flexible, fast and environmentally friendly: solutions to the parcel problem" (German original title: "Flexibel, schnell, umweltfreundlich: Wege aus dem Paketdilemma"), for which PwC surveyed 1,000 representative German citizens.

Download study, PDF (620 KB), 24 pages

"Customers are aware that parcel deliveries are not a free commodity. They absolutely perceive differences in quality and are willing to pay extra for flexible, reliable, fast and environmentally friendly services. For logistics companies and online retailers, this opens up new possibilities: they don’t have to differentiate themselves on price alone, they can also score points with their performance."

Dietmar Prümm, Partner Transport & Logistics at PwC Germany

What consumers are willing to pay

Consumers are prepared to pay more for a faster and above all more flexible service

Consumers want new services that are not yet being offered when it comes to flexibility, but delivery speed is less important. 64 percent want the parcel carrier to pick up returns at the front door, while 63 percent value the choice between different parcel service providers during the ordering process. Customers are willing to pay extra: four out of ten German citizens would pay an average of 2.40 euro more for parcel shipping within a specific time period. One third of the respondents would pay on average 2.22 euro for returns collection by the deliverer, while 23 percent would pay 2.21 euro for the online retailer to provide a choice between different parcel service providers.

On the other hand, speedy deliveries are not such a high priority for consumers. Although the majority of Germans would like to receive their order the next day (59 percent), just 26 percent of the respondents considered same-day delivery important and only 17 percent looked for delivery within two hours. However, consumers are more willing to pay for a fast shipping service: 42 percent would pay more for same-day delivery, amounting to 3.75 euro on average. Four out of ten customers would even be prepared to pay over 5 euro to receive their parcel within two hours. For next-day delivery, 41 percent would hand over more cash – on average 2.74 euro extra.

Demand for environmentally friendly transport

Protecting the environment is also important for many consumers when it comes to receiving parcels: 63 percent consider CO2-neutral, low-emission and low-noise deliveries important. But only one in three respondents is prepared to pay an average extra charge of 2.34 euro. When it comes to supporting environmentally friendly couriers, only one in ten Germans sees themselves as responsible. Instead, 42 percent of respondents place the responsibility on the side of the online retailer. 32 percent would like to impose an obligation on parcel carriers.

Parcel shops yes, provider monopoly no

If, in the future, delivery would only be offered as standard to parcel stations and shops, half of the respondents would be willing to pick up their packages there. However, 22 percent want a better network of parcel shops and stations, and 16 percent want longer opening hours. In this scenario, more than half of the respondents would be willing to pay an average of 2.77 euro for doorstep delivery. This is an interesting result for parcel services and reveals potential for efficiency gains on the last mile.

A further idea for optimising parcel delivery services in city centers especially is to transfer delivery on the costly last mile to a single neutral company. However, two out of three respondents rejected this concept. They are afraid of poorer service (48 percent) and higher prices (42 percent).

Contact us

Ingo Bauer

Ingo Bauer

Transport, Logistics and Tourism Industry Leader, PwC Germany

Hendrik Fink

Hendrik Fink

Partner, Sustainability Services, PwC Germany

Dietmar Prümm

Dietmar Prümm

Member of the Management Board and Assurance Leader, PwC Germany

Dr. Peter Kauschke

Dr. Peter Kauschke

Director Transport and Logistics, Mobility, PwC Germany

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