Mature woman passing over packages to a customer at his front door

Customers’ experiences of different parcel firms revealed

Published: 7 December 2023
Last updated: 7 December 2023

People who receive parcels are experiencing substantially different levels of satisfaction depending on which parcel company delivers their package, according to new research published today by Ofcom.

Ofcom’s annual Post Monitoring Report sets out key data and trends in the postal sector, including people’s experiences of sending and receiving post.

Two thirds (65%) of people say post is important to them for staying in touch with friends and family, although this is down from three quarters (75%) last year. Eight in 10 (79%) say there are things they will always need to send by post, however this is down from 84% last year.

While eight in 10 parcel recipients (78%) are satisfied by deliveries from parcel firms on average, two thirds (65%) have had a delivery issue in the previous six months. The most common complaints are about delivery delays, parcels being left in an inappropriate location, not being given sufficient time to answer the door or the delivery driver not knocking loudly enough.

This year, we strengthened our regulations to make sure people are treated fairly by parcel companies. We are closely monitoring implementation of these new protections and have expanded our consumer research to establish a baseline for people’s experiences of sending and receiving parcels.

We have also been engaging closely with companies to understand the changes they have made to implement our new rules and guidance. If we don’t see significant improvements in customer experience, we will consider if further regulation is needed. We can also take enforcement action if companies do not comply with our new rules.

Comparing carriers

If someone buys something online and their parcel is damaged or does not arrive, they may be able to seek redress from the online retailer under consumer law. The sender may then seek redress from the parcel firm, and sometimes a recipient may need to contact the parcel operator.

Our research found that fewer than half of parcel recipients who contact the parcel company are satisfied with the contact process (41%), the handling of their complaint (43%) and resolution of their issue (47%).  

There is considerable variation between parcel operators – Amazon, DHL, FedEx and UPS have the highest levels of satisfaction over these three areas, while Evri and Yodel have the lowest.

Satisfaction and dissatisfaction with contact processes of parcel operators from the perspective of the recipient

Parcel operators have made a number of improvements to complaints handling processes this year as our new protections have come into force. This includes better information on their websites; improvements to phone lines and live chat; and introducing options for customers to request an email or call back.

Across the two waves of consumer research that we have carried out this year, there are initial signs of improvement in customer experience in some areas. We will continue to monitor progress and provide a further update in next year’s annual Post Monitoring Report.

Royal Mail and the universal service

Today’s report also looks at Royal Mail’s financial and efficiency performance as the universal service provider.

Last year, Royal Mail’s parcel volumes declined and it lost parcel market share. Revenues also fell and profit margin declined significantly. We also continue to have concerns about Royal Mail’s ability to deliver sufficient efficiency savings, and, given recent performance and these risks and uncertainties, our concerns about the longer-term sustainability of the universal service have further increased since last year.

Given consumer demand for postal services is changing substantially, Ofcom is gathering evidence on whether the universal service might need to evolve to more closely meet consumer needs. We will publish our analysis early next year. It would ultimately be for the UK Government and Parliament to determine whether any changes are needed to the minimum requirements of the universal service.

Back to top