Excerpts from Deutsche Post AG's 2013 Group Annual Report.
The postal service for Germany
As Europe’s largest postal company, we deliver more than 64 million letters every working day in Germany alone. We offer all types of products and services to both private and business customers, ranging from physical, hybrid and electronic letters and merchandise to special services such as cash on delivery and registered mail. Our E-Postbrief product provides a secure, confidential and reliable platform for electronic communication. It allows companies, public authorities and private individuals to send secure communications whilst reducing processing costs.
For the first time in 15 years, we raised the prices of our Standardbrief and Maxibrief letter products with effect from 1 January 2013. Last year, we were required by the Bundesnetzagentur (German federal network agency) to adjust the qualifying conditions for the delivery of identical invoices. As a result, we discontinued our Infobrief product. Some customers now send traditional letters as an alternative, which has increased revenue in the domestic market for mail communication.
In the reporting year, the market for business communications was approximately €4.5 billion (previous year: €4.2 billion). In order to more precisely reflect actual market conditions, we look at the competitive business customer market. We therefore indicate those companies that are service providers to business customers, i.e., both competitors who offer end-to-end solutions as well as consolidators who offer partial services. At 64.7% our market share was slightly above the prior-year level (62.7%), primarily because customers have been increasingly sending traditional letters since the Infobrief product was discontinued.
Targeted and cross-media advertising
Companies can use our solutions to design and print advertising mail themselves and send it at reasonable rates via our network. We provide our customers with online tools and services to ensure the quality of their addresses and the efficient identification of target groups. Companies may rent the addresses of these identified target groups from us for their own advertising campaigns as needed. We also offer a broad range of digital solutions, which customers can use for cross-media and targeted advertising. The German dialogue marketing market comprises advertising mail along with telephone and e-mail marketing. In 2013, this market shrank by 2.8% year-on-year to a volume of €17.2 billion (previous year: €17.7 billion). The mail-order industry, in particular, considerably reduced advertising expenditure. The insolvencies of Neckermann and the do-it-yourself chain Praktiker were also felt. Our share of this highly fragmented market declined to 12.8% (previous year: 13.5%), a result that is also a consequence of the discontinuation of our Infobrief product.
Press distribution services
We deliver newspapers and magazines nationwide throughout Germany on the day specified by the customer. Our Press Services business unit offers customers two main products for this: preferred periodicals, which is the traditional method publishers use to post the publications to which their customers have subscribed, and standard periodicals, which companies primarily use to distribute customer or employee magazines via our network. We also partner with publishers to sell subscriptions to more than 500 press products both online and offline as part of our Deutsche Post Leserservice, a service that has seen much success.
The German press services market had a total volume of 14.8 billion items in 2013, a decline of 2.0% from the prior year. Consumer and specialist magazine circulation, in particular, has decreased. Our competitors are mainly companies that deliver regional daily newspapers. In an overall shrinking market, we continued to maintain our share at 11.4%.
Parcel business focuses on customer needs
With over 13,000 retail outlets, around 2,650 Packstations and around 1,000 Paketboxes we offer our customers the densest drop-off network in Germany. 10,000 Paketshops were added in the reporting year; another 10,000 are to follow by the end of 2014. On the whole we transport more than 3.4 million parcels and small packages within Germany every working day. Volumes are growing as are customer demands. Throughout our innovations in our parcel business, customers are always in focus.
Recipients have the option to choose where their parcel should be delivered. They are notified of the day on which delivery will take place – and in many regions the delivery time as well. Our courier service even provides same-day parcel delivery and evening delivery within a delivery window of the customer’s choice.
We are expanding the logistics platform, allowing business customers to grow their online retail business even more quickly: small and medium-sized retailers can take advantage of an additional sales channel at our shopping portal, MeinPaket.de. On request, we can even cover the entire supply chain – from warehouse logistics to returns management. We are developing the online food retailing segment at our online supermarket, Allyouneed.com, and our 2-Mann-Handling offers a solution for delivering furniture ordered online.
The German parcel market volume totalled around €8.2 billion in 2013, nearly 5.1% more than the prior year. For years now, e-commerce has been the most important driver of growth. In 2013, business customer volumes again experienced very strong growth and had a positive impact on growth in the mail-order and parcel services businesses. Overall, our market share in the reporting year was approximately 42.3%.
Sending mail and parcels internationally
We carry mail and parcels across borders and offer international dialogue marketing services. In addition, we serve business customers in key domestic mail and parcel markets, including in the United States and China.
We set ourselves apart from the competition by offering innovative products. For example, we are developing international shipping solutions for private consumers (B2C) in the growing e-commerce sector. This now includes a returns solution for 24 European countries. Our offer also comprises consulting and services for all physical and digital dialogue marketing needs. Furthermore, we offer international physical, hybrid and electronic written communications for international business customers, giving them the flexibility to decide what best suits their needs. Foreign customers tap into our expertise and experience in order to do business successfully in the German market. The global market volume for outbound international mail was approximately €6.7 billion in 2013 (previous year: €6.8 billion). The decline in light-weight letters and press products could only be compensated for in part by the increase in heavier items. Our market share remained stable at the prior-year level of 15.8%.