Last year was a year of radical breaks and standstills in Germany. Great parts of the economy were paralyzed and consumers and companies alike suffered from drastic restrictions in their usual routines. However, one sector kept the world running. Parcel and courier services mastered the task of processing hundreds of millions of orders. These orders suddenly came on top of their usual workload within no time.
It was especially the B2C parcel sector which drove growth in shipment volumes for delivery companies in 2020. Thanks to the unprecedented surge in e-commerce orders, parcel deliverers fulfilled 18.2% more national B2C parcel shipments in 2020 than in 2019.
When looking at the broader business, the German courier, express, and parcel delivery sector, including B2B, B2C and C2C shipments, the development of total shipping volumes has been on a constant upward trend for years. However, 2020 was a special year for Germany.
Breaking two records
Last year broke two records for the German courier, express, and parcel shipping industry. Firstly, shipping volumes increased by a double-digit year-on-year rate for the first time in twenty years. Secondly, they passed the four billion shipments mark. Between 2019 and 2020, total shipments in the German courier, express, and parcel market increased by 11% and reached. This is a total of 4.1 billion shipments.
Over the past ten years, year-on-year shipment volume growth had ranged between 4% and 7%. In other words, the 2020 increase was about twice as high as the average year-on-year growth of the past ten years.
Expectations are positive
As the economy is currently back to an upward trend, the expectations for the courier, express, and parcel business for the future are yet again positive. Shipping volumes are expected to increase by a year-on-year rate of another 8% each in 2021 and in 2022.
If the trend continues as expected a total of 5.7 billion shipments will be delivered in 2025. Taking into account a further increase in e-commerce and considering estimates of German economic research institutes and relevant companies.
The main driver for shipment volume growth – the B2C parcel sector – is likely to increase in relevance, as B2B shipments have recently been decreasing in number. Thanks to the COVID effect on e-commerce that also returns are increasing in total number. Even though return rates in e-commerce in Germany went down between 2019 and 2020.