8% fewer packages in Germany: ‘Recovery in sight’

8% fewer packages in Germany: ‘Recovery in sight’

The courier, express, and parcel sector in Germany, known as KEP for short, faced turbulent times in 2022. There were 360 million fewer packages delivered than in the peak year of 2021. This translates to a 7.9 percent decline in package volume in Germany.

In total, 4.15 billion shipments were delivered last year in the private and business markets, as reported by the German Parcel and Express Logistics Association (BIEK) in its KEP Study 2023. The sector’s revenue also declined, but not as much as the package volume. The total income reached around 26 billion euros last year, a 3.5 percent decrease compared to 2021.

The decline in shipments can be attributed to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a significant decrease in consumer willingness to spend and a shift from online to offline retail sales.

B2C versus B2B

The sector then experienced a decline, particularly in the consumer market: B2C package volume decreased by 11 percent last year, while the business package market saw a 4 percent decline in volume. As the year progressed, the volumes became more promising.

Despite the recent downturn, BIEK chairman Marten Bosselmann sees a bright future, referring to the fact that last year’s parcel volume was 14 percent higher than pre-corona.

‘The long-term growth trend of the KEP market continues.’

“At the same time”, Bosselmann added in a press release, “the industry is adapting to the continuing turbulent general weather situation and mastering the challenges that the economy and society as a whole have to face. Despite all the imponderables, something remains stable in addition to the constant performance of the KEP professionals: their importance as a job engine and employer who offers perspectives.”

Jobs in Germany

Last year, the sector employed 257,800 people directly in Germany, 3 percent fewer than in 2021. Nevertheless, the employment level remained above the pre-corona level, with an additional 13,200 employees. Indirectly, the KEP industry is said to support nearly 570,000 jobs in Germany.

The sector employed 257,800 people directly in 2022

Renewed growth

Looking ahead, the growth of the KEP market in 2023 is uncertain due to factors such as high inflation, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and supply chain issues. However, economic forecasts suggest a gradual recovery, especially in the second half of the year, which could lead to renewed growth. In the medium term, average annual shipment volume growth of 3.3 percent can be expected, according to BIEK, to reach just under 4.9 billion shipments by 2027.



Arjan van Oosterhout has been contributing to Ecommerce News Europe since the spring of 2023. He writes news articles for the website on a freelance basis.

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