Study on the needs of users in accessing postal establishments and as regards the provision of postal services

The "Study on the needs of users in accessing postal establishments and other points of access to the postal network" has been released; it was carried out by IMR - Instituto de Marketing Research (Institute of Marketing Research), which was awarded the work following a public tender launched by ANACOM.

The purpose of this study is to identify and evaluate the needs of users of postal services in accessing postal establishments postal establishments in Portugal and other points of access to the postal network attached to the concession (letterboxes and post-boxes) and as regards minimum offers of service, including minimum opening times of postal establishments.

Among the main conclusions of the study, it was found that:

a) Establishments are not concentrated only in zones with greater capacity to generate business. At the same time, steps to liberalisation and privatisation characterising the sector, coupled with the reduction in traffic and in the number of customers per network access point, are creating pressure to close the less efficient postal establishments - this may generate an imbalance in relation to the requirements imposed by the universal postal service.

b) In line with situations reported in other countries (e.g. United Kingdom and France), there are also residential consumers in Portugal who take care of certain everyday issues at postal establishments (e.g. payments, financial products, purchase of non-postal products), especially in rural areas and among more aged customers.

c) Sending non-registered letters is the main generator of customer visits to post offices.

d) Younger residential customers are engaging with postal operators and with postal establishments as a result of their increased participation in e-commerce and the consequent need to receive and ship parcels; this increases the potential for these customers to be attracted to other products and services.

e) Shipping requirements generate access to postal establishments by business customers.

f) Among business customers, the need to access postal establishments is declining. Around 25% of customers expect a reduction in physical mail traffic over the next two years.

g) Customers do not give importance to travel costs. On average, only 5.9% of residential customers and 5% of business customers are aware of the cost of travel.

h) On average, residential customers consider it acceptable to travel 4 km (round trip) to access postal establishments, although 50% refer to a distance of up to 2 km.

I) 77.5% of residential customers and 85.1% of business customers are satisfied with the characteristics of the postal network - they do not consider it necessary to make changes to the configuration of density and characteristics of the current post network.

J) On average, most residential and business customers reject a reduction in the opening hours of postal establishments, either in the morning or in the afternoon.

This study, including its respective premises and conclusions, is the sole responsibility of its authors, and, in no way, commits or binds ANACOM to any position.