Mail volumes expected to decline by more than 40 percent by 2020; digital mail, delivered to a secure online mailbox, to become important new revenue stream for global posts
LONDON; March 30, 2011 – Expanding its line of postal services, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today announced it will enable postal agencies worldwide to offer digital mail – a digital version of printed mail securely delivered to an online mailbox – to their customers to recapture lost revenue from a steady decline in mail volumes and to compete against a growing number of independent operators currently offering digital mail direct to consumers.
Accenture works with more than 20 postal clients around the globe, including some of the world’s largest posts, and its systems help deliver more than 50 percent of the world’s mail. According to the company’s research, presented today at the European Postal Conference in London, mail is estimated to decline by 44 percent by 2020 (165.2 billion pieces) compared to 2009 volumes (297.2 billion) for the 26 postal agencies included in its High Performance Post Study. While rates of mail decline will vary by geography, the postal industry should expect an average year-over-year decline of at least 5 percent for the foreseeable future.
The research also illustrates, however, that high-performing postal agencies embrace a revenue diversification strategy and are leveraging technology by offering digital mail, e-commerce and other electronic services. Accenture’s digital post services enables postal agencies to immediately compete in the digital market by converting, delivering and storing traditional mail, such as utility bills, as digital mail in a postal customer’s secure online mailbox. Mail recipients can organize and store their digital mail and, as with physical mail, postal customers will not have to pay for this service.
Unlike other players in the digital mail market, Accenture is partnering with postal agencies to help them offer digital post services to citizens. “Accenture is launching digital post services to help postal agencies expand their trusted relationship as the secure gateway between business, government and their valued customers,” said Brian Moran Accenture’s lead executive for its global postal business. “We are focused on enabling global posts to leverage new technology to drive revenue and compete against a growing number of independent digital mail start-ups.”
Just like the cost of postage, postal agencies may charge fees for delivering mail digitally, creating an important new revenue stream. Accenture estimates that the majority of traditional mail can be converted to digital mail, making up for some of the revenue lost to decreased mail volumes.
“With digital mail, postal agencies can now offer business mailers a choice on how they would like their mail delivered – hard copy, digital or both,” said Moran. “This new multi-channel capability will help posts adapt to the changing technology environment by giving citizens the option of receiving mail in their letter box or on their smart phone.”
Important postal customers will also benefit. High-volume mailers, such as banks and utilities that opt for digital mail, can realize significant cost savings on paper, production and staff hours. They can offer consumers a choice while still being confident that their important correspondence is being delivered securely by the country’s official postal system.
Accenture is currently in discussion with several postal agencies to add digital post services to the portfolio of services it provides.