Royal Mail missed 1st class delivery targets in Q3

No primary category set

Royal Mail’s latest Quality of Service report, in the period up to December 6th, is out revealing that whilst they beat their target for delivering 2nd Class post on time. Royal Mail missed the goal for 1st Class post.

Only 91.1% of First Class mail was delivered the next working day in the third quarter of the financial year against a target of 93.0%. First Class mail was also behind target with 92.4% of mail arriving the next working day, over the eight months to 6 December 2015.

The report reveals that 98.5% of Second Class mail was delivered within three working days in the third quarter of the financial year. Second Class mail beat its quality target over the first three quarters of the 2015-16 financial year,with 98.8% of mail delivered within three working days, against a target of 98.5%.

Sue Whalley, Chief Operations Officer at Royal Mail said: “Our postmen and women work exceptionally hard endeavouring to deliver to these demanding targets, which are some of the highest in Europe. We are disappointed to be behind the First Class target in the period up to early December, which saw severe weather impacts in parts of the UK; while we are pleased to have met the Second Class target. We remain more focussed than ever on continuously improving and maintaining high standards of service”.

Marketplace Metrics

What is really of interest to Tamebay readers is how these results match against your Amazon and eBay performance standards – especially the new on-time delivery metrics. Unfortunately the Royal Mail’s Quality of Service performance figures are useless to us as they don’t break out letter traffic and parcel post separately.

We’d love to see performance figures differentiating between 1st and 2nd class letters vs 1st and 2nd Class parcels. Where are the metrics on Tracked 24 and Tracked 48 products, are these as reliable, more reliable or less reliable then 1st and 2nd class post (we suspect that they’re more reliable, but only from personal experience of receiving parcels).

Even if Royal Mail split their figures between letters and parcels, their 2nd Class delivery target wouldn’t mean much so far as eBay are concerned and eBay predict a two day delivery target but Royal Mail report on a three day target – It would be very interesting to discover how many 2nd Class items were delivered within two days as opposed to three days.

This will be an interesting year for Royal Mail as they roll out 2D barcodes. Currently the barcodes are being used on millions of parcels but Royal Mail don’t have tracking and reporting in place. This is likely to be the first time retailers can differentiate between letters and parcels in Royal Mail’s Quality of Service and establish if parcel post is more or less reliable than letter post for the same service.

NB This article was edited to reflect dates. Royal Mail’s Q3 period ended the 6th December and so did not include the Christmas 2015 period

9 Responses

  1. Perhaps a comment for eBay on these findings is required to just how exactly we are suppose to get back and maintain a TRS status on these numbers?

    For us I would say LL get through much quicker parcels are slower, all our supposed not arrived on time orders are parcels.

  2. Interesting report and as Stuart has said I wonder if eBay will make a statement about the results. Clearly something needs to be done with regards to eBays delivery estimates. I appreciate that they are estimates provided by eBay and not guarantees, but our top rated seller status hinges on a question that simply asks did it arrive by x date (yes or no) The slightly frustrating thing is when you contact eBay to explain this, they simply say they are going off information provided by Royal Mail, which is in direct contradiction to the information provided by Royal Mail in their report and on their website.

    Either eBay need to adjust their delivery estimates they provide to customers or allow (based on the latest Royal Mail report) a seller to have a late defect of 8.9%

  3. Given I spent £11500 in December on First Class packets and they only delivered 91% on time, do you think my Royal Mail Account Manager would be open to a 9% refund on my spend? I think I know the answer already!

  4. Regarding eBay CS on this matter, they’re script is to tell us to use a better courier, although they’re the ones stating 100% next day delivery using 1st Class

  5. Ebay don’t live in the real world. They don’t actually ship items themselves so come up with unrealistic targets they pulled out of thin air.

    It is fine for them to tell us to use a more reliable courier, but that would increase costs across the board and everyone who doesn’t already shop on Amazon will do so, or shop elsewhere.

    I appreciate Ebay has to measure sellers against some sort of performance metric but I feel they have made a bit of hash of this.

    When we realised we were getting penalised by using Royal Mail Recorded and Ebay not counting attempted deliveries as on time, we switched all the items we were sending Recorded to a courier. This cost us a lot of money.

    Now Ebay tell us we just wasted that money and it was all for nothing is a bit galling.

    Ebay should have made sure the new system actually worked before making it live. It this not just basic business practice?

  6. We check all our signed for items, which are all first class, to make sure there is a signature.

    We reckon only about 80% are next day, spread across 2,000 items a year.

    More concerning is that only two thirds got a signature and we are in constant dispute with Royal Mail, who are deliberately obstructing refunds for the signed for fee, due to no signature.

    We are being forced to submit hundreds of single claims a year, despite it being self evident from the tracking that no signature is obtained.

    Second class is probably the better bet for the future.

    It’s capped by the regulator so can’t rise beyond inflation and the suspicion is that many arrive next day in any case.

  7. Very interesting figures. Obviously, as expected, 1st Class delivery is below target of 93% at 91.1% – so how do we meet your 96% on time target then Ebay?
    2nd Class looks better on the surface at 98.8% delivered within 3 working days. 3 WORKING DAYS? Why do Ebay allow us only 2 working days then – I wonder what the figure is for that?
    This new metric is a complete fowl up – I want to offer free same day dispatch by 1st Class Post as this is what customers want, but I would immediately lose my Top Rated Seller status so my only option is to offer next day dispatch by 2nd Class, then post same day, so that 98.8% will be delivered on time. Simples!
    Well done Ebay for introducing this huge disinsentive for providing what buyers want.


Ofcom late delivery investigation into Royal Mail results in Royal Mail £5.6m fine for not delivering on time

Ofcom investigates Royal Mail’s delivery performance

Royal Mail hits first milestone in rollout of renewable fuel

Royal Mail hits first milestone in rollout of renewable fuel

Kretinsky Royal Mail takeover progresses - Will we see Rico back?

Kretinsky Royal Mail takeover progresses – Will we see Rico back?

Royal Mail drop-off now available at Collect+ stores nationwide

Royal Mail drop-off now available at Collect+ stores nationwide

Milk & More adds carton collection to milk delivery

Milk & More adds carton collection to milk delivery

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars