German CEP market speeds to new records in corona year 2020
The German courier, express and parcels (CEP) market soared to new records last year, including a near-20% rise in B2C deliveries, as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated underlying growth trends – and further big increases are expected this year and beyond, according to a comprehensive market study from the German Parcels & Express Logistics Association (BIEK) presented today.
Parcel, express and courier firms in Germany took on as many as 10,600 additional workers to cope with the rapid volume surge during 2020 as consumers went online to buy everyday goods amid pandemic lockdowns and widespread shop closures, the CEP Market Study 2021 from market researchers KE-Consult for BIEK showed.
BIEK chairman Marten Bosselmann told journalists, including CEP-Research, at a hybrid press conference: “Parcel services have proven themselves in the crisis as reliable and flexible partners – for consumers in home office, for companies dependent on reliable transportation of goods, and for the healthcare sector. That won't change in the future either.”
Fastest growth for 20 years
In 2020, CEP operators in Germany delivered 4.05 billion shipments, a 10.9% increase on the previous year and about 400 million extra items in absolute numbers. Their combined revenues increased by 10.5% to €23.5 billion, with the average revenue per shipment stable at €5.80.
Study author Klaus Esser said German CEP market volumes increased by 7.4% in the first half of last year and then accelerated by 14.1% in the second half-year as online shopping grew rapidly. The overall 10.9% growth for 2020 was the first double-digit market growth in the last 20 years and about 3 times faster than in 2019.
B2C surge drives parcel market
This market growth was driven by B2C deliveries which soared by 19.7% last year and more than compensated for a surprisingly moderate 1.5% fall in B2B shipments, the study found. B2C shipments now account for 56% of all CEP volumes in Germany.
The bulk of the B2C growth was in the domestic parcel market where overall volumes increased by 12.3% last year. Consumer parcel volumes increased by 18.6% while B2B shipments slumped by 5.2% due to shop closures and the pandemic’s overall impact on businesses in diverse sectors. This left B2C parcels with a 68% share of the domestic parcel market.
In terms of revenues, the parcel market grew by 15% to €13.9 billion last year, which represented 69% of the total German CEP market.
The express & courier segment generated solid volume growth of 3.6% due to a combination of international growth and B2C express deliveries. The express market grew to revenues of €4.9 billion from €4.7 billion in 2019 while courier revenues increased to €4.7 billion from €4.5 billion.
Growth to moderate slightly in 2021
For this year, BIEK currently expects market growth of around 8%, or 320 million additional shipments. The parcel market is predicted to grow by up to 9.5%, with B2C deliveries increasing by 10-11% and B2B shipments recovering with a 3-4% increase. The express & courier market could grow by about 4-5%.
Esser pointed out that dynamic growth had continued in the first few months of this year while the B2B segment was expected to pick up as shops re-opened and consumer spending increased.
He commented: “The high B2C growth rate will slow. The need to order online will be less but growth will continue.”
Medium-term forecast doubles
Looking further ahead, the CEP market expert now predicts that overall volumes will grow by 7% a year on average until 2025, taking volumes to a total of 5.7 billion. This would be 1.7 billion items more than last year. This new medium-term forecast is nearly double the pre-pandemic growth figure of around 4%.
The BIEK German CEP market study covers all operators in the market, including the BIEK members (DPD, GLS, GO, Hermes and UPS), other major players such as DHL, Amazon Logistics and FedEx/TNT, and smaller operators.
- CEP-Research will report on the BIEK press conference and CEP market study results in more detail tomorrow.