05/19/2017, 10:00 AM CEST

German letter prices remain competitive compared with rest of Europe

Postage for standard letters in Germany remains below the European average, as shown by this year's comparison of postage rates published by Deutsche Post.

  • Real letter prices are higher in 23 European countries than in Germany
  • Postage in 14 European countries rose year on year by an average of EUR 0.08
  • Deutsche Post study determines nominal and real letter prices

Bonn - Postage for standard letters in Germany remains below the European average, as shown by this year's comparison of postage rates published by Deutsche Post. If only nominal letter prices are considered, Germany's postage rate of EUR 0.70 is exactly in the middle among European countries (16th place out of 31). Since last year, 14 countries have raised their letter prices. The average letter price in Europe is now EUR 0.88, eight cents higher than a year ago. At the equivalent of EUR 3.63, Denmark has the highest nominal price for domestic letters; Malta still has the lowest price (EUR 0.26).However, when macroeconomic factors such as labor costs and purchasing power are taken into account in the comparison, Germany places 24th in the European postage rankings (out of the 31 countries considered); writing letters is more expensive in 23 countries.

Of course, "low" and "high" prices are relative. The EU Postal Services Directive calls for EU member states to ensure "affordable" prices for universal postal service. Affordability depends in turn on the wage levels in the different EU countries, so the Deutsche Post survey of letter prices looks at how long an industrial worker would have to work in each country in order to earn the postage for a standard letter. Its findings: Germany follows Switzerland and Malta among the countries with the most affordable postage for letters. A worker in Bulgaria has to work the longest to earn the money for a standard letter.

Germany's adjusted letter postage ranks in the lower midrange in Europe

Adjusting the letter prices for differences in purchasing power shows a similar picture. At 21st place, Germany's postage ranks in the lower midrange.

Analyzing the relationship between letter prices and personnel costs in the individual EU countries also shows that Germany's postage is very affordable compared with the rest of Europe. Letter prices adjusted for labor costs are lower only in Malta, Slovenia, Austria, Sweden and Belgium. In this comparison, Denmark is again the country with the highest letter price.

Adjusted for inflation, the cost of sending a letter in Germany has risen by 11.2 percent since 2007. In comparison, the average letter price in Europe rose by nearly 42 percent during the same period.

Alexander Edenhofer

Topics: Postal products and services, Parcel Europe, DHL eCommerce, Mobility (Post Reisen), E-Mobility / StreetScooter

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