Second class stamp price history

Second class stamp prices have seen a significant rise over the past 35 years. The table below highlights the prices and changes over time.

It’s quite interesting to go through the data and to contrast the cost of a second class stamp today to that of 1980. Of course, we live in a very different world now when email has all but killed the traditional letter, card and postcard sending practices of earlier generations and one in which Royal Mail continually raises its prices despite, or some would say because of, falling volumes of mail.

Also, the second class letter definitely used to be treated differently to the first class and typically would take up to three days to arrive whereas first class was always the next day in most of mainland UK. Today the second class letters are thrown in with the first class and transported and delivered in the same vans so there is little to choose between the two services.

Along with this, there has been a rise in competitors to Royal Mail, none of whom have the Universal Obligation to deliver to every part of the UK as well as the rise in parcel post fuelled by home shopping.

However, you view it though there should always be a need for a second class stamp.

Table of second class stamp prices from 1980-2019

Year Pence % rise Cumulative Annual % rise since 1980
1980 10    
1981 11.5 13% 15%
1982 12.5 8% 25%
1983 12.5 0% 25%
1984 13 4% 30%
1985 12 -8% 20%
1986 13 8% 30%
1987 13 0% 30%
1988 14 7% 40%
1989 15 7% 50%
1990 17 12% 70%
1991 18 6% 80%
1992 18 0% 80%
1993 19 5% 90%
1994 19 0% 90%
1995 19 0% 90%
1996 20 5% 100%
1997 20 0% 100%
1998 20 0% 100%
1999 19 -5% 90%
2000 19 0% 90%
2001 19 0% 90%
2002 19 0% 90%
2003 20 5% 100%
2004 21 5% 110%
2005 21 0% 110%
2006 23 9% 130%
2007 24 4% 140%
2008 27 11% 170%
2009 30 10% 200%
2010 32 6% 220%
2011 36 11% 260%
2012 50 28% 400%
2013 50 0% 400%
2014 53 6% 430%
2015 54 2% 440%
2016 55 2% 450%
2017 56 1% 460%
2018 58 3.5% 480%
2019 61 5% 510%