Table of Contents

The Role of the Postal and Delivery Sector in a Digital Age

The Role of the Postal and Delivery Sector in a Digital Age

Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew and Timothy J. J. Brennan

This volume, the result of the 21st Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics (Ireland, 2013), describes the continuing problem of the decline of the postal sector in the face of electronic competition and offers strategies for the survival of mail services in a digital age.

Chapter 21: Digitalization of consumer invoices: a comparative study

Kari Elkelä, Heikki Nikali and Chris J. Paterson

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, public sector economics

Extract

Transactional mail has long been integral to the operation of postal authorities worldwide. Recent volume reductions in this area are now challenging traditional models of the industry. Central to these declines are the mass movements of invoices and statements, traditionally the domain of the physical letter, toward electronic alternatives. This study seeks to clarify the state of electronic consumer billing in six countries and assess these shifts relative to a set of intertemporal consumer preferences. We identify and observe differing segments of consumers according to their present and future preference sets relating to invoice receipts and utilize these elements to explain what factors are ultimately driving invoicing receipts. Consumer responses collected by market research companies through November and December 2012 comprised the core of present state and preference data utilized in this study. Data collection was Internet based, because most consumers in advanced countries use the Internet. As a consequence, the results in the study largely reflect those mail recipients who are able to choose digital alternatives. A set of respondents from, Australia, Russia and the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden was sampled according to the geographical and demographic population characteristics of their respective countries. In each of these countries, a sample size of approximately 1,000 invoice-receiving consumer respondents was surveyed, with the entire set of respondents indicating an average receipt of 6ñ10 invoices per month.

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