Discussion Papers

No. 434: Hybrid mail in Germany.

Autorin: Antonia Niederprüm

(full version only available in German)


‘Hybrid mail’ has been subject of WIK’s research for many years. In 2010, WIK published an often cited study on this topic. At that time the authors concluded that this market was at the mere beginning. Today, the picture has fundamentally changed. Technical progress in IT software, interfaces and print technology as well as the growing ambition of companies to digitise internal processes have had an impact on supply and demand for hybrid mail. This study analyses the developments of supply and demand of hybrid mail in Germany with an emphasis on solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. The study is based on comprehensive desk research and interviews with market participants.

Since 2010, the number of hybrid mail providers has significantly increased. Typical providers of hybrid mail services are IT solutions providers, printing businesses and postal service providers. The first group of providers develop IT solutions for hybrid mail. Partly they either provide hybrid mail solutions or sell the developed solutions to third parties. Letter shops and document printing providers are particularly appropriate to offer hybrid mail solutions. In addition to their competences in document output man- agement, mail preparation and optimisation of postage optimisation are also parts of their business. Postal services providers also offer hybrid mail solutions. In Germany, Deutsche Post is the most important provider of hybrid mail solutions (‘E-Post’) in this group. But the number of alternative postal service providers offering hybrid mail ser- vices to their clients is increasing. Their postal customers are usually small and medi- um-sized enterprises and local public institutions who are potential hybrid mail custom- ers.

There are basic hybrid mail service for single-piece items that are online accessible which inform on price level and price structure. These single-piece tariffs that include printing, mail preparation and delivery are often lower than the single-piece tariff of

0.70 EUR for sending a letter. Market participants report that the demand for hybrid mail services have grown since about five years. Digitisation of business processes at small and medium-sized companies gains momentum. Outsourcing of outgoing mail is an appropriate option for this group of companies to think about digitisation of internal pro- cesses.

Market participants expect growing demand for hybrid mail services particularly from small and medium-sized companies in the next years despite the general trend of de- clining letter volume. In the long term, hybrid mail is generally considered as a bridging technology from physical to digital correspondence. This further promotes the demand for hybrid mail services.

Discussion Paper is available for download.

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