Since its somewhat rocky start to life back in 2004, the growth of access mail volumes has been rapid.

Just by way of a reminder, under Downstream Access, Royal Mail only acts as the final delivery agent (often referred to as the ‘final mile delivery’). Mailers are free to select a different carrier to collect the mail and provide logistics.

Although total mail volumes have been falling, access volumes have continued to increase year on year… and access now accounts for some 53% of total mail volumes.

As to be expected the dramatic initial growth rate has not been sustained, but the year on year growth has been substantial.

• Back in 2005 there were 786 million items mailed via the access route

• In 2011 this figure has risen to 7.24 billion items, which represents a rise of 3.5% over the 2010 figure

The majority of access mail is transactional mail, such as bank statements and bills, and advertising mail (direct mail) sent from businesses to consumers.

Standard-sized letters account for the bulk of access volumes and revenue. Packets and large letter formats take up a far lower share of volume, but account for a greater proportion of revenue due to the higher unit price associated with their larger size.

Direct mail is of course a key use of mail, accounting for around a fifth of total mail volume.

The stable volumes of direct mail in recent years and the fall in total mail volumes mean that direct mail now accounts for a marginally larger share of total mail than it has done for several years.

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