Courier prices reach record highs amid Christmas rush

CX Price Index Jan 2023

The latest update from the CX Price Index 

Average courier prices increased by 5.96% in December 2022 and are now at their highest level since the CX Price Index began.  

By the end of the month, the Price Index recorded courier prices of 136.9 points – up from 129.2 points in November.  

The price increase was likely held back by falling fuel costs. An unexpected drop in inflation probably also limited the increase. 

The overriding driver of the price increase was undoubtedly an increase in retail sales in the run up to Christmas. As consumers bought Christmas gifts online, over the phone and via mail order, demand for couriers increased. The increased demand increased courier prices in turn. 

Lyall Cresswell, CEO of Transport Exchange Group, said: 

“Approaching the end of the year, it is not uncommon for haulage and courier prices to increase. This is a trend we can expect in this busy period as demand for freight and delivery services increases. However, it is interesting to see that this trend seems to be more pronounced this year, with prices rising more drastically in December 2022 than last year.  

“In 2023, the industry will continue to face similar challenges, spearheaded by inflation. Without a concerted effort to address the driver shortage and replace the ageing workforce, we risk an overburdened industry and could face continued increases in haulage and courier prices, which could have far-reaching consequences for businesses and consumers alike.”  

Kirsten Tisdale, Director of Logistics Consultants Aricia Limited and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport, said: 

“You can’t look at the TEG index this month without your eye being immediately drawn to the courier element – it’s the highest ever since it started in 2019 and has easily topped the highest haulage figure, which we saw in September 2021 during the HGV driver crisis. The Royal Mail strikes this year will have added to the seasonal pressures in this sector, but year-on-year inflation in courier rates had already started increasing again in November, while haulage rates remain depressed against last year.” 

With the UK cost-of-living crisis ongoing, many expect UK consumer spending to drop significantly in January, which would in turn reduce courier prices (all else being equal). 

Courier Exchange will publish the next CX Price Index update in February 2023. 


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