Sending letters is becoming more expensive – standard letters for 85 cents

Bonn (dpa) – If you want to send letters in Germany, you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket from January. Deutsche Post announced on Wednesday that the various letter products are to be 5 cents more expensive each.

For example, a standard letter should then cost 85 instead of the previous 80 cents, a compact letter 1 Euro (currently: 95 Cent). With the postcard, the company is turning more on the price screw, which should cost 70 cents and thus 10 Cent more than before. Deutsche Post justified the increase in postage with higher costs in the event of decreasing shipment volumes.

Previously, the Federal Network Agency, as the competent regulatory authority, had approved a scope for price increases, on the basis of which the Post may increase the postage. Said leeway is 4.6 percent – that is how much the shopping cart for all regulated types of consignment can become more expensive. The value is relatively low, with the postage increase 2019 it was 8.9 percent.

Changes unlikely

The one approved by the Federal Network Agency The scope for price increases is divided into a calculated inflation rate of 3, 14 percent since the postage increase 2019 and productivity losses of 1, 35 percent due to the decrease in volume. The network agency will now check whether the planned postage increases are within the scope. The final decision will probably be made in November. It is unlikely that anything else will change in the plans. The new postage is valid for three years.

The President of the Federal Network Agency, Jochen Homann, spoke of “room for moderate price increases”. A few streets away from Homann’s Bonn office, in the corporate headquarters of the “Yellow Giant”, they were not enthusiastic: From the point of view of the Post, the scope for increases is too small, as the company’s announcement shows. The 4.6 percent are less than the compensation for increases in wage costs and “certainly no compensation for the increase in unit costs to be expected in the next few years due to further declining letter volumes, higher inflation and additional costs for a more climate-friendly letter service”. The latter means investments in modern technology and climate-friendly transport, for example in electric vehicles.

In addition, the Post complained that the network agency’s specifications “significantly restricted” the scope for tariff increases. The group has in the mail and parcel business 155. 000 employees in Germany, of which 118. 500 Delivery person.

Letters in the digital age

The letter market has been shrinking in the digital age for a long time. People write significantly fewer letters than before and instead increasingly use emails, chats and social media in their communication. However, the mail business is still lucrative for the Bonn company – this is also due to the state-approved price increases , but also from law firms, tax consultants and mostly smaller companies. It’s not about classic business mail – for example documents from the bank or insurance. Swiss Post negotiates the prices for these mail items with corporate customers and grants discounts depending on the volume and type of deliveries , she expects such losses for the future as well. In the year 2019, for example, the drop in sales in the “Letter Communication” division was 3.4 percent compared to the previous year. However, due to the increase in postage in the middle 2019, the drop in sales in the “Letter Communication” area was only 0.8 percent.

Sales climbed slightly 2020 above

In the Corona year 2020 there was only a mini sales decrease of 0.3 percent to 6 in this division, 42 Billions of shipments, sales climbed by 4.5 percent to 5.5 billion euros, mainly due to the postage increase from 2019. However, this was also due to the fact that certain mail items from companies were no longer allowed to be sent as advertising mail, but as letters – that was positive for the letter division and negative for the “Dialog Marketing” advertising mail division.

There was a huge minus in advertising mail that year 2020 – this was partly due to the said customer shift, but above all to the Corona crisis: Many companies were so financially under pressure that they responded to advertising first waived. If you add letters and advertising mail together, the sales minus at Deutsche Post was 10, 4 percent 14, 3 billion shipments per year 2020, sales with these products fell by 2.1 percent to 8 billion euros.

The topic of postage increases is a hot topic. On the one hand, it annoys some consumers when their old postage stamps are no longer sufficient and they have to postage additional postage. In addition, there is always criticism from competitors: Parcel service providers complain that Deutsche Post DHL can, to a certain extent, cross-subsidize its parcel business with the mail income and thus has a competitive advantage in the booming parcel market.

The FDP member of the Bundestag, Reinhard Houben, registered the postage increase with a shake of the head. The Post has saved a lot of money in recent years through branch closings and disused mailboxes. The volume of letters is declining, but in view of such savings, price stability should at least be possible. “It is annoying that the postage increase has become something of a sure-fire success every three years.” However, he assessed positively that the increase is not as strong as 2019.

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