Findings of the Business Perception Survey - Business Community (Microenterprises)
The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) is today publishing the results of its latest business perception survey.
The survey was carried out using a sample of 390 respondents which is representative of the Maltese business community (i.e. composed mainly of microenterprises engaging between 1-9 employees). All interviews were carried out between January and February 2019 over the telephone with the person responsible for handling the mail of each respective organisation. The random sampling procedure was used for the choice of respondents.
Postal markets within and beyond Europe are experiencing both shifts in the traditional letter mail volumes as well as in the consumer and business behaviour. The MCA carries out such surveys periodically in order to observe the extent of these shifts in the local scenario, as well as to determine whether the needs of postal users are being met.
Satisfaction with the overall quality of the MaltaPost Services
The absolute majority of the respondents (95%) have claimed to be satisfied with the overall quality of postal services, of which 76% were either extremely or very satisfied with the service provided.
Expenditure on addressed letters
The highest percentage of respondents (28%) were not aware of their expenditure on postal services, whilst 10% claimed to have spent more than €500 in the twelve months preceding the survey. Additionally, 15% of microenterprises claimed to have spent between €100 and €500 in that same period.
Sending and receiving addressed letters
The majority of respondents (68%) claimed that over the twelve months preceding the survey the volume of letters received remained the same. When asked about the addressed letters sent, 47% (the highest percentage) of the respondents claimed to have sent the same volume of addressed letters. Also, the proportion of microenterprises which claimed to have sent more letters has increased marginally from 2017 (from 4% in 2017 to 5% in 2019). The respondents who claimed to have increased the number of letters sent have attributed marketing campaigns as the main reason for the increase (55%) whilst 30% of these respondents claimed, that sending more printing bills has contributed for such an increase. The majority of microenterprises (72%) claimed that the use of email was the main reason for sending fewer letters, followed by the use of voice communications (fixed and/or mobile telephony - 62%), messaging services (28%), online payments (22%) and use of Social Media (16%).
Use of the postcode
Close to half the respondents (46%) claimed to have included the postcode on a regular basis in the letters sent, whilst 36% did so occasionally. Moreover, 57% of the respondents were aware that MaltaPost’s website has an online postcode finder facility.
Participants were asked about what lead-time (in days) from the date of posting a letter to actual delivery they would find acceptable. 51% of respondents claimed that they find next day delivery (D+1) acceptable, down from 58% in 2017. There was a 15% increase (from 31% in 2017 to 46% in 2019) in the number of respondents who claimed that they would accept a 2-day delivery (D+2).
A quarter (25%) of the respondents claimed that they were ready to accept a 3-day delivery (instead of a next day delivery) for a discounted postal service. However, almost another quarter (24%) were not prepared to accept a deferred delivery service of 3 days even at a lower price. Just over half of the respondents (51%) stated that delivery speed would depend on the urgency of the mail at hand.
Acceptability of a 5-day week
Mail is currently delivered on a 6-day schedule (Monday to Saturday). Respondents were asked if they would find a 5-day delivery week acceptable. 10% of the respondents claimed that a 5-day delivery would be a major inconvenience. For the remaining 90% of the respondents, a 5-day delivery was either acceptable (47%), inconvenient but workable (33%) or just a minor inconvenience (9%).
79% of respondents claimed to have visited a post office in the 12 months preceding the survey. The main reasons for visiting the post office were to send letters (55%), sending and collecting registered letters (40% and 38% respectively), buying stamps and to pay bills (both 35%). Complaints Respondents were asked if their organisation had contacted MaltaPost in the 12 months preceding the survey and for which reasons they have contacted it. 16% of the respondents claimed to have contacted MaltaPost and the majority (58%), for reasons related to a complaint, whilst 18% have made enquires about MaltaPost products and services and 13% asked about the status of their parcel. Findings of the Business Perception Survey – (Small, Medium and Large Businesses) The above perception survey provided viewpoints relating to the entire business community in Malta i.e. all businesses comprising micro-, small-, medium- and large-sized organisations. In addition, a further sample of 156 respondents composed entirely of small (10-49 employees), medium (50 -249 employees) and large (250+ employees) businesses was taken. Such businesses tend to make heavier use of postal services when compared to smaller businesses and, due to their proportionately small size within the representative sample, they may not be sufficiently captured within the overall sample.
Expenditure on addressed letters
Mirroring the percentage of the overall sample, 28 % (the highest percentage for this question) of respondents from this sample were not aware of their expenditure on postal services within the 12 months preceding the survey. Respondents from this cohort tended to spend within the higher brackets, with the greatest percentage (24%) spending over €500. The latter reflected a 7% increase from the last survey that was conducted in 2017.
Sending and receiving letters
The highest percentage of respondents (47%) claimed that the number of letters they sent over the twelve months preceding the survey remained the same. On the other hand, 11% of respondents claimed to have sent more letters in those twelve months, citing an increase in marketing campaigns (35%). The majority of respondents who claimed to have sent fewer letters within the same period mainly used email as an alternative (74%) however, respondents in this cohort were likelier than their overall counterparts to invest in eBusiness solutions (24%) and online payment facilities (21%). Both samples were asked which non-postal alternatives they would adopt in case of a price increase of 5% to10%. Similar to the respondents from the overall sample, the majority of small, medium and large businesses, would switch to email (55% and 61% respectively). Almost similar to the overall sample (32%), 33% of the small, medium and large businesses claimed they had no non-postal alternative if there was such a price increase in postage.
Delivery lead-time from the collection of letters.
Almost identical to the percentage of respondents from the overall sample, half of the small, medium and large enterprises still prefer a next day delivery (D+1) whilst marginally less than half of the respondents (47% ) claimed that 2-day lead time was acceptable.
Unlike their smaller counterparts, larger businesses were more likely to send a parcel (37% vs. 20%), using MaltaPost service. Also, 67% of the small, medium and large enterprises receive parcels, 19% of which had experienced an increased number of items over the twelve-month period preceding this survey. A smaller percentage of microenterprises (41%) claimed to have received parcels over that same period and 11% of these have registered an increase.
Larger businesses were more likely to visit MaltaPost’s website than respondents from the overall sample (72% vs 56%) but respondents from both samples visited the website mainly for the same reasons, that is, to search for postcodes and to find information about MaltaPost’s products.
Visiting the post office
An equal percentage of respondents (the majority in both samples: 72%) from both samples have visited the post office. The larger businesses were more likely to make use of services related to the purchasing of stamps, to post and register letters than the respondents from the overall sample.
Smaller businesses, on the other hand, were more likely than larger businesses to visit a MaltaPost office to pay bills and collect registered letters. Also, the majority of both samples find the waiting time at the post office as being reasonable (small, medium and large enterprises (82%) and microenterprises (86%).
As the regulator for postal services, the Malta Communications Authority carries out research on a regular basis.
This survey, part of a series of surveys examining household, businesses and bulk mailers’ use of postal services is intended to assess the extent of businesses’ satisfaction with the services provided by MaltaPost, as well as to monitor a number of aspects related to the sustainability of the postal services (such as price levels, quality and access). The aim of this research is to guide the Authority’s decisions, the effects of which are felt by consumers and businesses alike, by providing an additional source of information for such decisions.