Table of Contents

Reforming the Postal Sector in the Face of Electronic Competition

Reforming the Postal Sector in the Face of Electronic Competition

Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer

In our increasingly technology-focused world, demand for traditional postal services is steadily shrinking. This timely volume examines the many challenges that the worldwide postal sector is facing as a result of growing electronic competition, and offers expert recommendations for reshaping postal structures to strengthen their competitiveness in an electronic age.

Chapter 17: Measuring consumer preferences for postal services

Charlene Rohr, Urs Trinkner, Alison Lawrence, Chong Woo Kim, Dimitris Potoglou and Robert Sheldon

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics

Extract

Increasing digitalization and the evolution of the Internet have had, and are still having, an impact on the demand for postal services. Letter mail volumes are steadily decreasing in most industrialized countries and there is little doubt that this decline is to be attributed to the substitution of letters by electronic alternatives (‘e-substitution’). By contrast, the delivery of physical goods such as small packages and parcels is likely to be increasingly important. These trends can be seen in the growing parcel volumes in most countries. Increases in e-substitution and e-commerce are likely to have an impact on consumers’ needs and preferences for postal services. In the case of regulated postal services, however, such developments in consumer demand are not immediately matched by changes in supply, but must be identified and addressed through policy decisions. Given the significant changes brought about by electronic communication, there is a need for better information on how these developments have affected demand for postal services and on what consumers need from a postal service.

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