The future of letter deliveries

Royal Mail plays a vital role in connecting the nation with its one-price-goes-anywhere service. The law requires Royal Mail to deliver to all 32 million addresses in the UK six days a week.

But with the rise of email and digital communications, we are sending fewer and fewer letters and addresses now receive just four letters a week. Change is needed to make the postal service more efficient while protecting choice of price, speed and reliability for people across all corners of the UK.

Our challenge

Changing customer needs

Letter volumes have declined from a peak of 20 billion a year in 2004/5 to seven billion in 2022/3. In five years time, letter volumes will drop to four billion while parcels continue to grow.

Rising costs

As letter volumes decline, the number of UK addresses has grown by four million since 2004/5 so the cost of delivering each letter is increasing. Royal Mail lost £419 million last year.

UK left behind

Most countries - from Germany and France, to Canada and New Zealand – have already made changes to how quickly and how often letters are delivered.

What do we want to change?

We would like to deliver mail in a way that meets the needs of our customers today and in the future and protects the one-price-goes-anywhere service while allowing Royal Mail to operate more efficiently.

We have listened to a wide range of customers and stakeholders to understand what they want from a modern Universal Service and have submitted our proposal to Ofcom on what the future should look like.

What does our proposal say?

It protects what matters most to customers with limited change and no change to:

  • The one-price-goes-anywhere service to all parts of the United Kingdom
  • First Class letters delivered daily, six days a week (Monday to Saturday) 
  • The option of First Class and Second Class letters
  • Parcels delivered up to seven days a week as currently.

 
The proposal includes vital changes to deliver a more efficient and more financially sustainable Universal Service:

  • All non-First Class letter deliveries, including Second Class, would be delivered every other weekday
  • The delivery speed of standard bulk business mail (used for things like bills and statements) would be aligned to Second Class, so they arrive within three weekdays instead of two currently.

 
Listening to what customers have told us is important, we are also calling on Ofcom to modernise the Universal Service for the digital age by introducing the following new features:

  • The introduction of new, additional reliability targets for First Class and Second Class services, alongside revised, realistic speed targets
  • Tracking added to Universal Service parcels to reflect customer demand.

Nothing changes for you now

We’ll keep you updated as this progresses. For now we just keep delivering letters and parcels as you are used to. For more information on our submission to Ofcom, visit internationaldistributionsservices.com