2010 price comparisons: High-quality letters and parcels at inexpensive prices

Press release dated 11.03.2010

By European standards, the cost of mailing letters and parcels in Switzerland is relatively low. These were the findings of the latest letter and parcel post indices compiled at the University of Fribourg. Of the fifteen most important countries compared, Swiss Post ranks fifth in terms of counter prices for letters.  It is the second least expensive parcel service provider in Europe, having advanced up the rankings by one place in both indices since the last survey. Customers in Switzerland also benefit from exceptionally high delivery quality and a clear service structure.

The chosen methodology from the Centre for Research in Economic Statistics CEStat.ch at the University of Fribourg (Prof. Brachinger) enables a direct comparison to be made between letter and parcel prices in different countries. These two indices are based on a basket of all the letter and parcel categories offered to private customers at the counter. The categories are weighted according to the frequency with which they are actually used by consumers. The cut-off date for the latest survey was 15 January 2010.

Second and fifth in the rankings

Swiss Post ranked fifth among the fifteen most important European countries compared in the Letter Post Index, improving its position by one place – due in no small part to the price cuts for large letters. For example, comparable letters in Germany and France cost 17 percent more, and almost 40 percent more in Sweden and Denmark. And the Italians are expected to pay almost 60 percent more than the Swiss for their letters. According to the Parcel Post Index for private customers, Swiss Post is the second least expensive company in Europe and had also improved its ranking by one place since the last survey. Only in Austria are parcels less expensive to mail. Prices in Germany, Belgium and Portugal are all slightly more expensive than in Switzerland, whereas prices in the other countries in the comparison are much higher.  Mailing parcels in Scandinavia is particularly expensive.

More quality for your money

The Letter and Parcel Post Indices do not take into account the different services offered in the individual countries upon acceptance or delivery. As these services are very extensive in Switzerland, the Swiss get more quality for their money. Although the cost of mailing letters in Spain and Ireland, for example, is lower than in Switzerland, only around 80 percent of A Mail letters reached their intended recipients on time in 2008. In contrast, almost 96 percent of Swiss A Mail letters reached their destination on time in 2008, and almost 98 percent in 2009. In the context of the Parcel Post Index, some slower products had to be incorporated, as not all countries in the comparison offer next-day parcel delivery.

Advantageous formats

Letter formats and weight categories, which are very generous for private customers at Swiss Post, were also not taken into account. For example, Deutsche Post charges at least EUR 1.45 for C5 items, the most commonly used format for letters in Switzerland.  For individual letters weighing up to 100 g, Swiss Post has just one price for A Mail and one price for B Mail. The advantage of this is that private customers rarely need to weigh their letters in order to frank them correctly.

Price adjustments for letters and parcels

As per 1 July 2009, Swiss Post simplified its prices for large letters and lowered some of them too. Business customers also benefited from further price cuts. The agreement concluded with the price supervisor includes price advantages of around 200 million Swiss francs. Consumers and the economy are currently benefiting as a result.

The prices for parcels will be adjusted on 1 April 2010 – as previously announced in a press release. The price for mailing heavy parcels will fall by one Swiss franc. Lighter parcels will cost one franc more unless they are prepared and prepaid via the WebStamp online service. These will be the first parcel price adjustments to be implemented since 2003.

Letter Post Index 2010

Index Briefpreise

Taken into account are letters up to 1 kg, excluding higher value items, list prices for individual mail (exchange rate-adjusted)

Parcel Post Index 2010

Index Paketpreise
Taken into account are parcels up to 20 kg (excluding additional services); list prices for individual parcels (exchange rate-adjusted)