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Calculating parcel costs
on 22 May 2012 9:54 AM

We were once a nation addicted to the Royal Mail but in 2005 Postcomm, the industry regulator, wanted to introduce competition into the postal market. This was a significant change in the market, as Royal Mail had a stranglehold on parcel delivery for over 350 years.

Since the postal market has been open to full competition a number of parcel delivery websites have popped up, trying to persuade people to forget trudging down to the post office, and use their courier services instead. is one of the companies to benefit from those changes introduced seven years ago. Its purpose is to provide consumers with the cheapest way to send their parcel in the UK and abroad. By using the comparison service you can easily see how much it will cost you to get that parcel delivered using alternatives to the beloved Royal Mail.

Parcels weighing over 2kg can be a nightmare to take to the local post office, firstly if you don’t have a car you have to lug it all the way there yourself, secondly, you will undoubtedly be stuck in a queue for at least 10 minutes, and last but not least, you probably won’t know what to ask for when you get there as you will be bombarded by questions from the cashier.

By using the My Parcel Delivery and Royal Mail online quotation systems we can see that as the size and weight of your parcel increases, the gap between the prices is also on the rise.

To deliver a parcel weighing no more than 2.5kg with tracking and guaranteed next day delivery within the UK, costs £22.70 with Royal Mail and just £13.80 using City Link (price provided by My Parcel Delivery). This is quite a significant difference in price for a very similar service. In fact, in most cases City Link will also collect the parcel from your home address, meaning that you don’t even have to leave the house.

Price Gap: £8.90

If we increase the weight of the parcel to no more than 15kg, we can see that there is an even bigger price gap. The first thing to notice is that we are not offered Royal Mail Special Delivery any longer, the only options available aim to deliver next day. Unfortunately not good enough for us so we turn to the ParcelForce option provided as a part of the Royal Mail Group. offers us another great deal, this time with MPD Next Day Delivery for just £10.20 (inc. VAT). Royal Mail just isn’t able to compete with the great deals being offered online, our 15kg parcel will set us back a whopping £25.40.

Price Gap: £15.20

These are just a couple of examples, if you start increasing the size and weight of your parcel the price gap between Royal Mail and online couriers just keeps rising.

Why are online couriers so much cheaper?

One of the biggest reasons that you can make these huge savings with online parcel couriers is because of the competition that now exists within the market place. The demand for parcel delivery is on the rise thanks to the increase in the use of the internet. Think about how often you order goods online, all of those parcels need to be delivered quickly and cheaply – something the Royal Mail is unable to achieve.

These discount parcel couriers are generally offering a superior service at better prices in order to grab as much of the market share as possible. This should not come as a surprise when you consider that the postal market is currently worth somewhere in the region of £11.4bn.

Before the previous regulator Postcomm opened up the market to full competition, Royal Mail still managed to dominate the market with a 99% share. However, Royal Mail has suffered a rapid decline in its hold on the market, and currently only holds a 40% share of bulk mail .

Perhaps the changes to the regulatory framework being introduced by Ofcom will coincide with a change in habits from British consumers. After all, with the price of stamps increasing, the decline in the sending of letters, will Royal Mail even be able to continue to compete with private courier services?

The proof is in the pudding, and we have just been served up discounts between £8.90 and £15.20 for taking less than two minutes to get a quote using It will most definitely save you time and money, and could even prevent you from suffering with that bad back.