In 2021, postal traffic in Portugal decreased by 2.9%, revenues grew by 10.4% and average revenue per item increased by 13.8%
In 2021, postal traffic in Portugal decreased by 2.9% compared to 2020. In 2020, the decrease was 12.0%. Recent dynamics have been influenced by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a significant contraction in traffic. In 2021, the pandemic is estimated to have caused a 7.0% decrease in traffic, a less severe impact than in 2020 (estimated decrease in traffic due to COVID-19 of 8.8%).
Despite the reduction in volume, the value of the business grew. Revenues generated by providers legally authorised to provide postal services totalled around 712.8 million euros (an increase of 10.4% compared to 2020). This growth was driven by revenue from parcels, which increased by 19.9%, and to a lesser extent by correspondence revenues (+4.7%). Average revenue per item increased by 13.8% compared to 2020. in line with the trend since 2018. This increase results, among other factors, from the change in the traffic structure, particularly the increase in parcel traffic as a proportion of total traffic. In 2021, the growth in unit revenue from correspondence also contributed to this result.
Although the effects of the pandemic were still being felt in 2021, with the gradual lifting of restrictions on movement, postal traffic seems to have started a process of recovery from the shock caused by the pandemic; this recovery should be confirmed in 2022.
Postage Parcels increased 15.1%
By type of object, traffic in correspondence, editorial mail and direct mail dropped by 5.1%, 5.9% and 1.9%, respectively, while parcel traffic increased by 15.1%.
Incoming international traffic, which represented around 6% of total postal traffic, decreased by 9.8% compared to the previous year, a decrease "heavily influenced by the end of the Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption (de minimis) on low value extra-Community purchases from 1 July 2021”1.
In 2021, correspondence represented 74.0% of postal traffic, while editorial mail and direct mail represented 7.4% and 6.8% respectively. Parcel traffic made up 11.8% of total traffic, a 1.8 percentage-point increase versus the same period in 2020. In terms of revenue, the relative weight of parcel revenues was 43.2%, increasing 3.4 percentage points from the previous year.
Universal service covered 80.9% of traffic and 50.6% of revenues
Postal services included within the scope of the universal service represented around 80.9% of traffic and 50.6% of revenues.
Universal service traffic decreased by 4.7% and decreased by 1.5 percentage points as a proportion of total traffic compared to 2020. Universal service revenues increased by 3.9% overall and decreased by 3.2 percentage points as a proportion of total revenues.
Grupo CTT had a share of around 85.2% of postal traffic, 1.0 percentage points less than in 2020. With regard to traffic covered by the universal service, Grupo CTT reported a share of around 89.7%, declining 1.0 percentage points from the previous year. This is the lowest value ever reported. On the other hand, Grupo CTT's share of parcel traffic was reported at 49.4% (-0.4 percentage points versus the previous year).
The number of people employed increased by 0.3%
In 2021, there were around 14.9 thousand people involved in the operation of postal services (+0.3% versus 2020). This growth was driven by the activity of alternative providers (+13.4%). The number of employees at Grupo CTT decreased by 4.0%, reaching 72.4% of the total at the end of the period (-3.2 percentage points versus the previous year).
Significant growth in investment in the networks of alternative providers
Increases were reported in the number of access points (+1.6%), distribution centres (+2.4%) and vehicles (+6.1%). The significant growth in the number of vehicles was due to expansion to the fleets of various express mail providers (+18.0%), in response to an increase in demand driven by the pandemic, with a reduction reported at Grupo CTT (-1.7%). The growth of distribution centres was due to the return to activity of one provider, with a decrease of 1.6% at Grupo CTT level.
The number of CTT post offices increased by 1.2% compared to the previous year, maintaining the growth trend that began in 2019, while the declining trend in the number of postal service offices was reversed (with an increase of 0.2%)2.
1 See - Press Release - Consolidated Results - January to September 2021https://www.ctt.pt/grupo-ctt/investidores/informacao-financeira/divulgacao-resultados.
2 The number of CTT post offices and postal service offices at the end of 2021 is provisional.