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1.1 Introduction and definition

Syndicat National des Transports Légers (SNTL) defines the courier market as "all operation of public road transport of goods for hire or reward, generally urgent, carried out with a 2 or 4-wheel GVW vehicle (Total Authorised Load Weight), weighing less than 3.5 tonnes".  Food is not included in the scope of this study. A study on this market can be found here.

The global courier market is expanding rapidly, driven mainly by an increase in goods purchased remotely. Globally, the largest courier companies include (measured through market capitalisation in descending order) United Parcel, Deutsche Post, and Fedex. []

The market in France is also growing, albeit at a slower pace than the global counterpart. This growth comes from E-commerce primarily. Moreover, the market is highly fragmented measured through number of players; nevertheless, Le Poste is by far the largest when measured through revenue. 

Bicycles are increasingly used for delivery services. Traits such as low cost, environment efficiency, and flexibility are together contributing to this growth.

Finally, COVID-19's effect on the industry is discussed in section 2.3.


1.2 The global market is growing

Source: ****
In ****, the global courier market was valued at $***.* billion compared to $***.* in ****, which is equivalent to a CAGR of *.**% per year. This growth is driven by an increase in FMCG (***) in Emerging Markets primarily. Moreover, the consumption of goods, particularly through E-commerce, is increasing which also increases the demand for ...

1.3 Domestic market

Source: ****
In France, the postal and courier market is expanding at a rapid pace. In ****, this market was worth €*.** billion; fast-forward to **** and the market size is projected to be €*.** billion, which is equivalent to a CAGR of **.**%. Globally, France made up around *.*% of the total market in ****. 
To obtain this ...


2.1 Profile Analysis: The French Consumer

Source: ****
In ****, French citizens were asked about their preferences regarding the delivery of parcels. From this, we find that **% of respondents claimed that they preferred delivery and pick up at home. The second most common category was at a pick up point (***).
This is relevant for the courier market, as they ...

2.2 Demand Trends

Source: ****
Drones could be disruptive for the courier and parcels industry. In ****, **% of respondents claimed that they saw potential in this sector. 
Drones can fill many functions in this industry. For instance, goods can be transported from harbours to city centres, and also used to deliver blood samples in diffcult terrains. ...

2.3 COVID-19's impact on the industry

Source: ****
In general, couriers continue to be delivered, albeit at a delay as we can see above. The global pandemic is disrupting supply chains and the courier market does not stand outside of this issue. 
From the graph, it is apparent that the issue of deays in France between the beginning ...


3.1 Market structure

In France, La Poste, a government owned company, dominates courier services, measured through sales (***) but also geographically. For instance, the latest Post Office Act specifies that at least **% of the national population must be within * km, or less than ** minutes by car, of a Post Office contact point. [***] Put differently, La ...

3.2 Revenue analysis

In the analysis below we use the NAF code **.** "other post and courier activities". Although this sector is not exclusive towards couriers, it provides a credible proxy for general movements in the industry. 

Source: ****
The graph above depicts the revenue index for NAF **.**. The index depicts the evolution of revenue, where ...

3.3 Distribution

Source: ****
The fleet of vehicles used by La Poste in **** is depicted above. Although this is not entirely representative for the industry on a whole, it serves as a good proxy for the distribution in general since La Poste is by far the largest operator in France. 
From this, we can ...

3.4 Market shares

Source: ****
Due to differences in reporting, some companies’ revenue above has changed today. However, the revenue is the latest reported and the ranking remains.
In top, and by far the most dominant player in postal and courier services in France, we find La Poste. The company had revenues of close to ...


4.1 Product Analysis

As specified in section *.*., the courier market is part of a larger market, namely that of light transport which, according to the Syndicat National des Transports Légers (***), weighing less than *.* tonnes". Specifically, light transport is structured around four segments:
The urban courier: involves all the operations of taking charge of ...

4.2 Price Analysis

Source: ****
Companies are remunerated through commissions levied on partners (***) On average, the commission varies between ** and ** %. This percentage varies and and depends on the number of orders placed and the exclusivity of the customer. In the case of delivery trips, the price depends on the size of the items to be ...

4.3 Cost analysis

Source: ****
The largest costs related to "other postal and courier" activies are related to financial lease payments with regards to real estate which account for close to **% of value. Fuel purchases are just above one third of costs (***), and finally electricity expenses are also significant at around **% of total cost.
This ...

4.4 Supply Trends

The courier market is being disrupted by tech-companies such as Uber and Glovo who are extending their services beyond the initial business model. This phenomena is referred to as "Ubersiation" and covers a new technological reality, namely the implementation of algorithms to automate shipments by taking advantage of the new functionalities ...


5.1 Regulatory framework

There are many controversies about the working conditions of couriers. [***] In this context, French regulation is relatively strict but also constantly evolving.
According to SNTL "Transport for hire or reward is a commercial activity regulated by general or specific texts of the Civil Code, the Commercial Code and the Labour Code". ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • La Poste
  • Presstalis
  • Couriier

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chargé d'études économiques, Xerfi

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Mathieu Luinaud

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PhD Industrial transformations

Robin Charbonnier

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Pierre Doussau

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Arnaud Walter

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