Published: Thu, 11 August 2016
“Some 4 billion parcels or small deliveries are ordered online every year in the EU, but we are not exploiting the full potential of online trade in Europe. In fact, European Commission research shows that in two-thirds of all cases, e-shoppers abandon their shopping carts online, before placing an order, when they see the cost of the delivery attached to the purchase.
“The high cost of delivery even for small parcels cross-border in the EU is an obstacle to trade for SMEs and needs to be reduced in order to help businesses expand their sales and for the benefit of consumers,” Seán Kelly MEP said today.
“While 44 percent of consumers buy online in their own country, far fewer (15pc) order online from another country. This is a major problem for businesses, particularly in Ireland, which are trying to expand sales but have to be mindful of the high cost of delivery.
“For example, sending a 2 kilogram parcel within Ireland would cost about €8.25, but sending that same parcel to Finland would cost €32.50. However, sending the same package from Malta to Finland would be cheaper at €15.88,” said Mr Kelly, who said the Commission research showed a wide disparity in standard delivery charges across the EU.
The prices wary EU-wide. Another 2 kilogram parcel would cost €4.44 to post domestically in Austria, but €14 to post from Austria to Italy. Meanwhile, to send the same package from Italy to Austria would cost a whopping €25.
“It is clear that both businesses and consumers would benefit from cheaper and more transparent pricing in terms of delivery rates which would ultimately encourage more retailers to sell online.
“Thankfully, the EU is working on plans to improve regulatory oversight in the parcel sector and look into the issue of price transparency, including the prices of small shipments,” MEP Kelly said.
The Commission is not planning any price regulation of the parcel sector. However, the big differences between prices for cross-border parcel delivery between various EU countries discourage retailers and consumers from selling and buying across the EU. Often, the differences do not reflect the underlying cost of the parcel delivery, for example wages or geographical distance.
“Better transparency and clear price breakdowns for consumers will lead to greater competition in the delivery sector. At the end of the day, increased trade will benefit everyone,” Mr Kelly added.