Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 17: Measuring consumer preferences for postal services
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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