Communiqué de presse - Postal sector

Universal Postal Service

2021 prices: Arcep publishes its opinion on pricing for the universal postal service in 2021

Arcep is publishing its opinion on changes to the price of ordinary and parcel post delivery products that are part of the universal postal service, for 2021.

Third year of Arcep’s application of multi-annual price caps for 2019 to 2022

These changes correspond to the third year of application for the multi-annual price caps for the period running from 2019 to 2022, which Arcep set out in its Decision of 26 October 2017 [1]. The price caps set by this Decision reflect the dramatic changes in the economic environment in which La Poste is operating, including a structural decrease in the volume of postal items covered by the Universal Service. Based on the adjustments to expenditures that La Poste plans to make, this price cap must enable the Universal Service to maintain its financial equilibrium, and enacts a shared burden between La Poste and consumers.

This decision caps the nominal average annual increase for universal postal services [2] at 5%, contrary to the previous scheme which authorised differentiated increases during the period. Under the terms of this price cap, it is up to La Poste to decide on how its prices will change.

The price increase planned by La Poste falls within the parameters set by Arcep

The average 5% increase that La Poste plans to implement in 2021 falls within these caps. It also differs depending on the category of service (personal and SME mail, business mail, relational mail, direct marketing, registered mail, universal service parcels, universal service print media items and international mail). The different changes by service category follow through on those made in the preceding years.


At constant volume, this basket would increase from 38.30 euros in 2020 to 41.00 euros in 2021. However, there is an ongoing decrease in the use of postal services, due to changes in consumer behaviour and price increases. The combination of these two factors is therefore expected to bring average household spending in 2021 down to 35.60 euros, which represents an average decrease of 7% YoY.

Changes to La Poste online letter products

Arcep is also publishing an opinion on a change to the catalogue of universal service products, namely online letters. The purpose of this addition is to expand the range of internet services and facilitate customers’ access to them, making them easier and more practical to use. It also provides for a more streamlined pricing structure, which will lead to an overall decrease in prices for users.

[1] Arcep Decision No. 2017-1252 of 26 October 2017

[2] The universal postal service includes obligations to provide a defined set of postal services: it represents three quarters of La Poste’s mail business and close to a third of its parcel business. The bulk of transportation and press distribution solutions are excluded, and are part of a dedicated public service mandate.