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Almost half of residential postal users in the UK said they used First Class stamps all of the time in 2011

Almost half of residential postal users in the UK said they used First Class stamps all of the time in 2011.

This is despite only one in ten saying that all of their mail needed to arrive the day following posting.

Post is still the preferred way of sending a greeting, such as for a birthday card, with 58% of UK adults doing this.

Claimed use of post has fallen in the past two years, with 30% of adults saying they use it less. UK adults say they send an average of 3.2 letters or cards a month.

UK postal revenues increased for the first time in four years, to 6.7bn in 2011.

Total mail volumes continued to fall, by 25% between 2006 and 2011.

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People in Scotland send the lowest average number of letters and cards per month (2.5 compared to the UK average of 3.1).

Almost half of consumers in Scotland (49%) use First Class stamps all the time.

But fewer consumers (51%) claim to send items of post regularly than the UK average of 58%.

Forty per cent of adults agree that they prefer to send e-mails rather than letters whenever possible, slightly higher than the UK average (38%) and a much higher than in Wales (27%) and Northern Ireland (30%).

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Sixty nine per cent of Welsh consumers claim to send items of post regularly - significantly higher than the UK average of 58%.

Adults in Wales receive fewer parcels than the UK average (0.7 parcels per month compared to 1.2 parcels per month)

Almost half of consumers in Wales say they use First Class all the time

A quarter (27%) of adults in Wales agree that they prefer to send emails rather than letters whenever possible, lower than the UK average (38%)

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Adults in Northern Ireland are less likely to say that it is worth using post for important communications.

Fourteen per cent of adults in Northern Ireland agree that it is worth using post for important communications, the lowest across all UK nations and significantly lower than the UK average (34%).

Thirty per cent of adults in Northern Ireland say they prefer to send e-mails rather than letters whenever possible.

They also claim to send post less regularly than in other parts of the UK - 58% for the UK versus 49% for Northern Ireland.

However, one in five say they would feel cut off from society without the postal service.

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Across all of our comparator countries as a whole, mail revenue fell by 1.5% in 2011, ranging from a 16.1% contraction in Poland to 9.4% growth in Brazil. Revenues grew in only four of 17 of the countries analysed in our report; the UK (3.1%), Brazil (9.4%), Russia (8.8%) and India (6.6%).

Across our 17 comparator countries, mail volume has fallen by 18% since 2006. Taken as a whole, volumes have fallen from 355 billion to 288 billion items. The UK, Italy and Spain have seen the largest declines, with mail volumes in each falling by 25% from 2006 to 2011.

More consumers in the UK claim to receive large parcels than in the other countries which we surveyed. Thirty-four per cent of UK consumers claimed to have received a large parcel in the past month, higher than in any other country surveyed. Forty-six per cent of UK consumers claimed to have received a small parcel, second only to France (53%). As well as having the highest proportion of consumers receiving parcels, the value of e-commerce per head of population in 2011 in the UK is higher than in any of the other countries surveyed.

For sending a standard-sized letter, the UK is among the cheapest in Europe. But for sending small letters, the UK and Japan are the most expensive countries; this is 63p in Japan and 60p in the UK.

Seventy-four per cent of consumers in France consider themselves very reliant or fairly reliant on post as a way of communicating, higher than in any other country. In the UK, 51% of consumers considered themselves to be reliant on post. The lowest perceived reliance on post was in Japan, where only 14% of respondents considered themselves reliant.

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