Second-class stamp price rise takes effect
The 2p rise for the 2nd class stamp is put into effect today, 27th March 2018. Royal Mail states the increase is to maintain their high level of service across Britain, as a stamp can get a letter either down the street or across the country. The change is undoubtedly also due to the change in the rate of inflation, which was at 2.5% in February this year, slightly less than the 2.7% 12-month rate.
11.7bn letters were sent 2016-2017, a 5% decrease from the previous year, which is a larger decrease than the 4% decrease of previous years. This has caused a decrease in profit for Royal Mail of 221 thousand, another potential factor for the increase in stamp prices. However, it must be considered whether the increase in cost to the user is causing the decline in postage. Whilst price increases can be used to cover the loss of less customers, Royal Mail must identify the point at which consumers will refuse their service due to too high prices.
Another factor in the decline is the rise of the internet age. It has never been easier to send a message instantly across the world which could take an unknown amount of time by snail mail. Perhaps the future of post will lie only with parcels, with letters being mainly composed of legal documents and other such important paperwork of which a physical copy is needed. However, many companies now employ metered mail such as franking as a way to cut costs.
It is also important to consider the demographic of postal and internet users; typically, younger people prefer email and older people are more used to letters. As our population becomes an aging one, could we see a reversal, and thus an increase in postal usage? Also note that people are more trusting towards companies they can pinpoint, a reason why every company has to list its address.
Will the postal service go the way of the high street? Nowadays there are complaints on the lack of physical shop, a product of our love of internet shopping. A similar effect could occur with our treasured postal service; this opening could open the way for private companies to expand into the market.
Stamps bought before the change will still be useable without the need for extra stamps to increase their value.
1st class stamps have also risen in price by 2p. to 67p. These prices should remain stable until March 2019.