Who we are

Royal Mail is the UK’s pre‑eminent delivery company. We deliver more letters and parcels, to more addresses in the UK, than all of our competitors combined. 

We are proud to deliver a ‘one‑price‑goes‑anywhere’ service on a range of letters and parcels to around 30 million addresses, across the UK, six‑days‑a-week, in our role as the UK’s sole designated Universal Service Provider1 . Royal Mail has helped to shape the history of the UK and the way the world communicates for 500 years. 

We make a very signifcant contribution to the wider UK economy.

Through UK Parcels, International & Letters (UKPIL), our impact, including through employment and procurement, totalled £10.8 billion last year in terms of value added. We made the ffh largest contribution to the UK economy of all UK corporations2 .

General Logistics Systems (GLS), our pan-European parcels business, operates one of the largest, ground-based deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.

  • Our position

    E-substitution continues to drive a structural decline in UK addressed letter volumes. We forecast a four to six per cent annual decline (excluding the impact of political parties’ election mailings) in the medium-term. Despite this, letters are an important part of our business. We believe they will be for years to come. They account for around 45 per cent of our revenue as a Group; and almost 60 per cent of our revenue in the UK. Royal Mail is the largest parcel delivery company in the UK. But, we operate in a very challenging environment. We face signifcant competition from companies with established delivery capabilities and from new entrants. E-retail continues to fuel overall growth in parcel volumes. Growth available in the UK parcels market continues to be impacted by Amazon’s activities.

    International markets are also intensely competitive, as growth continues to be fuelled by increasing cross-border trade, driven by e-retail.

  • Our people

    We employ around 159,000 people across our Group. One in every 185 jobs in the UK is provided by Royal Mail3 . We are committed to preserving the trust members of the public place in Royal Mail and our hard-working employees. 78 per cent of our customers say they are favourable to us, while 88 per cent are satisfed with the service we provide, putting us ahead of the companies surveyed4 . Royal Mail also ranks as the most trusted and most preferred delivery company in Business CSI’s Brand Tracker 2016-17 survey.

    Our strong brand position means we are proud to ofer the best pay and terms and conditions in our industry. The vast majority of our employees are employed on permanent contracts, except where there is a short-term need. Our permanent employees are paid above the Living Wage which, in turn, is above the legal minimum set by the UK Government. They also receive the additional benefts associated with permanent employment, such as paid holidays and a good pension. In return, however, we continually work with our unions to agree changes to our working practices and labour model. This process of change is about sustaining our business now and in the future, particularly given the decline in letter revenues.

  • Our customers

    Royal Mail Group has a wide range of customers using our letters, parcels and data services. This includes consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), some of the UK’s largest businesses and retailers, and other postal operators who use our downstream network. (This is where a postal operator other than Royal Mail collects mail from the customer, sorts it and thentransports it to Royal Mail for delivery.) GLS also provides a whole range of business-tobusiness (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) services across continental Europe.

    Only Royal Mail delivers to all parts of the country to the same high service standards with a geographically uniform tarif. In May 2016, our regulator, Ofcom, found that the postal services sector saw an increase in customers' perception of value for money from 2005 to 2015. This was at a time when ratings declined in many other sectors5 . Ofcom did further research on value for money in post that concluded 75 per cent of residential consumers said that they were either fairly or very satisfed with the value for money of postal services6 .

    Royal Mail adheres to a stringent set of regulatory standards for the delivery of parcels and letters. Consumer protections are key. Royal Mail has the greatest number of protections for parcels customers. Other major parcel operators have limited or no regulatory consumer protection standards applied to them.

  • Our shareholders

    Royal Mail is part of the fabric of UK life. As such, we are pleased to have a large and diverse shareholder base. We have a proactive programme of engagement with all of our shareholders, including institutional investors in the UK and overseas. Following our fotation on the London Stock Exchange in 2013, we have a relatively large retail shareholder base. It includes many of our own people.

    All of our eligible full-time employees have received a maximum of 913 Free Shares, regardless of grade. This means that, in total, 12 per cent of the Company has been awarded to eligible colleagues. This is one of the largest free stakes made available to employees as part of any major UK privatisation. 

  • Our transformation

    Our UK operation is organised to deliver to every household and business in the UK, Monday to Saturday. This means we beneft when we deliver letters and parcels together. More than 90 per cent of the parcels we handle in the UK pass through the Royal Mail core network, which delivers the Universal Service.

    We will continue to invest a signifcant amount of cash in our core network, although we are now past the peak of investment. 

    At present, around 80 per cent of our revenue comes from our UK business. We also want to develop a broader revenue base and grow in the UK and overseas. GLS remains a focus for investment to help drive growth as it continues to expand, including into new geographies. It provides exposure to markets where revenues are growing above gross domestic product (GDP). It is well positioned to support our overall strategy by increasing its footprint and focusing on growth opportunities in the deferred parcels space, and selective growth in the B2C parcels market. In addition, in the UK, we are actively looking at areas where there is market opportunity and the potential to make the most of our assets. They include our large network infrastructure, our trusted brand and our data.

    We need to stay ahead of the competition in both letters and parcels if we are to remain our customers’ number one choice. In the medium-term, the faster areas of growth in the parcels market are expected to be clothing and footwear, returns and ‘same-day’ delivery. We are becoming more fexible to accommodate the needs of e-retailers and online shoppers. This includes increasing the number of pick-up and drop-of points in our network, better systems integration with retailers and extending acceptance times at Mail Centres and Regional Distribution Centres.

    We are also seeking to become a digital organisation and build our overall e-commerce capability. Becoming a digital business is about fundamentally changing the way we use technology and data. It is about changing our internal and external processes. In so doing, we aim to digitise as many of these as possible. With better use of technology and data, we can create better products, services and customer experience. We want to be able to help our customers with every step: from purchase, to delivery, to returns. 

1. Under the Postal Services Act 2011 (‘the Act’), Ofcom is the regulator for postal services in the UK. Ofcom’s primary regulatory duty for postal services is to secure the provision of the Universal Postal Service. Ofcom has designated Royal Mail as the Universal Service Provider.

2. 2016-17: comprising direct and indirect contributions.

3. Cebr research, conducted for Royal Mail in May 2017.

4. Ipsos MORI Corporate Image Survey Winter 2016.#

5. Ofcom, Consultation on Review of the Regulation of Royal Mail, 25 May 2016, Paragraph 4.12.

6. Ofcom, Review of the Regulation of Royal Mail, 1 March 2017, Paragraph 3.17.