Royal Mail price hike: First-Class stamp up to 60p

By Dan Wilson March 27, 2012 - 1:52 pm

From 30th April, Royal Mail will increase the price of postage on a range of services including first-class and second-class stamps. First-class will rise from 46p to 60p and second class is set to increase to 50p from 36p.

The 30% first-class increase, and 39% for second-class, are the
the biggest annual hikes in percentage terms since 1975. Ten years ago, a first-class stamp cost 27p, and a second-class cost 19p. Since 2006, mail volumes have declined 25%.

Here are some of the key increases:

  • First-class stamp for a standard letter: from 46p to 60p
  • Second-class stamp for a standard letter: from 36p to 50p.
  • First-class for a large letter up to 100g: from 75p to 90p.
  • Second-class large letter up to 100g: 58p to 69p.

Other services, including parcels, franked mail, recorded post, redirection services and PO Box will also be increased. Royal Mail have published complete details on their website here.

What will this mean for your ecommerce business? Obviously, buyers shoulder most of the costs of postage but any price rise is clearly not a good thing.

Royal Mail previously announced business tariff postal price increases which come into effect from the 2nd April

  • 10 years ago

    I think that we should all pay a fair price for a fair service. without a good delivery service all eBay businesses would not be able to operate. The price increase will be the same for all sellers so noone is at anymore of a advantage than they already where. The buyer will have to pay slightly more but if they still want the good service Royal Mail offers then they should not complain about the incrase in price.

    • Old Hand
      10 years ago

      I have always found Royal Mail to be fantastic especially since others have appeared on the scene. I am amazed that Royal Mail’s prices have been so low representing incredible value given the recent and current political and economic climate when everything is sold off in order to fund the transnational corporations who have the contacts and can afford to bribe governments worldwide.

      Being mostly an eBay buyer the AusPost changes from being the cheapest until around 2002/3 to the most expensive by 2008/9 was a big hit both for me buying and australian sellers, this and I presume future large increases will disuade buyers especially for those of us who sell internationally – my standard eBay sale to US/Canada will increase by the best part of £2.

      A massive (30%) increase in the middle of what really should be called a continuing recession or depression in an essential service is despicable and it is appalling to see how the monopolists have piled on the price increases whilst giving bigger bonuses to executives and returning greater dividends for shareholders.

      My most significant reservations are that Royal Mail executives will pocket any/most of the extra ‘profits’ in the form of bonuses and when RM is eventually fully sold off we will have the poorer service of DHL (or name any other) for the price of astronomical x2.

      RM is an essential service that should not be sold off. The supposed efficiencies of the market have proven to be false with recent events if they hadn’t already. Now corporations are more powerful than governments so the trend should be in the opposite direction, governments nationalising essential services to protect the public from gouging monopolists/cartels.

  • Nicholas
    10 years ago

    Is there an alternative to Royal mail? Does anyone use TNT? Will they be cheaper for UK packet up to 250 grams (royal mail price 2.5 GBP per packet now)?

    • Gerry007
      10 years ago

      Packet; 0–750g [1st] £2.70 {account}£2.36
      [2nd] £2.20 {account}£1.92

      This will be the biggest increase for many sellers, a whopping increase.

      Each Summer we sell 1000’s of one particular product & now it will be over £1.50p dearer.
      The cost of the item [weight 110g] will be matched by the P&P costs.

    • Mukesh
      10 years ago

      Actually- if you buy 1st & 2nd class stamps in advance of the price rises, it will actually work out even cheaper than the current prices for most sellers !!!…For example a single dvd sent 2nd class at the large letter rate is currently £0.92p – now although this is going up to £1.10 – you can buy a 1st & 2nd class stamp for a total of £0.82p which will then have a post April combined value of £1.10….. For packets, although they are getting rid of the lower price band- a typical dvd box set weighs between 300g – 500g and currently is £2.16 for 2nd class non-account holders. You can buy 2 1st class stamps & 2 2nd class stamps today at a total price of £1.64 – which will have a post April value of £2.20…Superdrug currently have an offer of 5% off the price of 1st & 2nd class stamps- so depending on your circumstances it is time to stock up !!!

    • 10 years ago

      Great idea, but in reality how many stamps would you need to buy to make a significant saving?

      (…and yes I am too tired to work it out tonight for myself ;-))

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      I saw a suggestion in a Newspaper Report that an MP had suggested that we all go out and buy the stamps for our Christmas Cards now thus saving us a significant amount. Obviously if you use significant numbers of stamps(of whatever denomination) if you buy them now for use at the higher rates then you will make a significant saving. Of course there are downsides:-
      a) You will need to “invest” a lot of money and depending on your finances you might not be able to afford this.
      b) You have to guarantee that you will still use this mix of stamps – no good buying stamps of a particular denomination only to stop using that type of stamp(rembember 1st & 2nd Class Stamps do not have the price on them only the Class and size). Also if you are buying for your Christmas Card usage the Christmas Stamps have pretty designs the ones on sale now are the usual dull ones.

      But if you can afford to buy 6 months of more supply of stamps it could represent a substantial saving.

    • Ex Ebay Seller
      10 years ago

      Its not really that difficult to work out is it for 2nd 36p to 50p its 28p per pound buy £2000 of stamps you will save/make £560 If you don’t use them great because they will go up every year way above inflation for however long you have them and you can always sell them on at a profit

    • radroach
      10 years ago

      I have seen a rumour that the value of a “1st” class stamp might be fixed at the current 46p in future, likewise the “2nd” class pegged at 36p, and so on – for example a “1st” class stamp will need a 14p “top up” to be used for first class post after 30th April.

      If this is true there will be no advantage in stockpiling stamps beforehand.

    • Ex Ebay Seller
      10 years ago

      They could introduce such a system in the future but it would not affect any stamps you bought now or in the past marked 1st or 2nd class they have to give you the service you bought

    • Gerry007
      10 years ago

      Unlikely if they are privatised….

  • dan watson
    10 years ago

    More privatisation madness!

  • Gerry007
    10 years ago

    Just noticed the hike in Airmail prices +30%……

    Oh, and AU is now rest of world 2, must be on another planet!!.

  • Melinda
    10 years ago

    I’m quite shocked by these price increases!
    As a RM business account holder most of our parcels fit into the packet rate & average just under 250g, the price for this is going up from £1.96 to £2.70. Whilst I appreciate that will be a rise in prices, this is much higher than I would expect, especially as Tracked is only a few pence more for up to 5kg!

  • kga123
    10 years ago

    Our concern is not just the huge increases about to be slapped on us, it is more about our position in search results. eBay, as I understand it, favours sellers who offer free P&P. Now, we sell many thousands of relatively, low value ‘small packet’ items. We have an account with Royal Mail and use Packetpost. As weights are being combined to 0-750grams and VAT added to most services, we have calculated that the worst case scenario will result in an increase of almost 100%. We are not quite at the VAT threshold, so cannot claim that back. We cannot, swallow the increase and still be able to offer free ‘1st class’ P&P. So, the result, increase our purchase prices or start to charge P&P. The first results in us being less competitive and the second means losing a good position in search results. We are thinking of offering 2nd class with free P&P as our default service and then charging for 1st class with ‘Recorded'(I believe Recorded is going to be about 94p + VAT) as standard, as an option. ‘Next Day’ services will just be put up or switched to courier. Is it not time that eBay took into account the difficulties sellers face and removed the benefit of search for free P&P offerings and make a more level playing field.

    • Gerry007
      10 years ago

      Swap back to standard 1st/2nd class [from packetpost] & save the VAT….

    • Chris
      10 years ago

      Many believe that you have to hit or exceed the VAT Thresh-hold before you can register for VAT. This is not true. You can make a voluntary Registration at almost any level of turn-over. Obviously if your turn-over was too low HMRC might not be happy.

      However what you need to do is to work through your accounts. Firstly you have them without VAT and then recalculate them as if you were VAT registered. In some cases it might be worth registering for VAT at below the Thresh-hold. However before anybody jumps down my throat. You have to be very careful. It does depend on the sort of business that you are in as to the overall effects on your business. Also you should be careful of one-off factors that could be in your accounts this year and not next year. These could include such as the costs of buying/installing Computer Systems and Equiping the Warehouse and even buying in the initial stock.

      After all these one-off costs will not be repeated if you did go ahead and register for VAT on the strength of them you would be stuck with that decision for at least a few years.

      However you can make a Voluntary Registration for VAT but I would suggest that in most cases it would not be a good idea.

    • Robert Mansell
      10 years ago

      Waste of time as postage is VAT Free anyway so you can’t claim back what you haven’t paid.

    • 10 years ago

      Got to say, I’m glad that HMRC have put VAT on the postage.
      We, being VAT registered have to charge our customers 20% more than non registered sellers, creating a VERY uneven playing field !.
      Personally I think ALL businesses regardless of income should have to charge VAT.

  • 10 years ago

    The UK keeps pricing itself out of the competitive worldwide market.

    I have just bought a magazine from, with free shipping cheaper than I can buy it from the shop in town.


  • board_surfer
    10 years ago

    For what you get, it is still too cheap.

  • Terry
    10 years ago

    There is one upside to this for some sellers, not all but some.

    For example one seller joe (large seller) who sells a product and the margins are tight on it, a small seller mary who sells out of there back bedroom can undercut joe as they dont have the overheads joe has, now mary will have to pay a much higher price for RM services than joe does as a larger seller, levels out the playing field a bit.

  • Gerry007
    10 years ago

    From 00.01hr on the 27/04/2012 all of our P&P will be defaulted to 2nd class, with the option for the buyer to upgrade to 1st class.

    We Cannot see an alternative & all those that offer ‘free’ Post, will have to do the same or hike the post prices way up.

    The bigger problem is the packet post that falls into the 0-100 & 101-250gram weight bracket, as effectively they will no longer be worth selling.
    Cannot see how we can charge over 2.50p for P&P on an item that costs less than 80% of the P&P costs.

    With ebay hiving off 10% of the post costs with free P^P listings it will be very, very difficult to swallow that now, 0n any cheaper items.

    Personally I think RM are making a big mistake by loosing the lower packet post bands, as previously for the sake of 1-2mm [in thickness] they gained 0.81p just to go from Large Letter to Packet post [ie: 0.55p to 1.36p] @ 1st class old prices.

    > > > BE AWARE, BE AWARE, BE AWARE < < <:

    I just signed into our OBA account [02/04/2012] & the new prices for STL post are now showing @ NEW PRICES with VAT Charged.

    YOU HAVE TO USE CODE BPL [check your Product Codes] to get old prices & NO VAT.

    • Gerry007
      10 years ago

      Just another thought,

      I wonder what the Post office counters will be charging when the new prices kick in, will it be + VAT or No VAT.

      There will effectively now be two tariffs for standard 1st & 2nd class post, won’t there??.

  • st georges dragon
    10 years ago

    as long as it gets there we dont mind paying a reasonable amount

  • PayPaluser
    10 years ago

    Just get a franking machine and send all your packages by franked mail – it’s much cheaper

    click on:

    UK prices wallchart 2012

  • Gary
    10 years ago

    Just bear in mind that even the lowest priced basic franking machine has an overhead cost of around £700 a year inclusive of any capital costs.

    The saving on 2nd class packets up to 750g is only 28p and it seems much larger as a percentage for everything else so it does seem that Royal Mail have rigged this somewhat to discourage those who ship up to 2500 lightweight bulky items each year from using franking machines.

    And you cannot frank recorded or signed for items.

    • PayPaluser
      10 years ago

      We pay £25.00 per month to lease our machine from so that is £300.00 per year.

      The only other running costs are ink and labels.

      You’re incorrect when you state that you cannot send recorded delivery or signed for items by franked mail, we do it every day.

      You just add the 77p (soon to be 95p) to the price.

    • 10 years ago

      We used to spend £25 a month on a franking machine, then labels, then ink, then £60 every year for the price update rom.
      Then we opened a packetpost account with Royal Mail, even cheaper than franking costs, and all we needed was a label printer and a roll of labels.
      Saves all that money.. lovely !

  • sandbag protest
    10 years ago

    join The Sandbag Protest

    The Sandbag protest is for the reinstatement of the Royal Mail lower weight bands (100gm – 250gm and 250gm – 500gm)

    for all items you send that are under 750ms – make up the weight to nearly 750gms with a sealed bag that contains sand and a sticker explaining to the surprised recipient why they have a bag of sand in with their goods (you are protesting, trying to reduce their postage costs)

    If you are sending a 110gm package but having to pay for a 750gm package why not use that extra weight to protest this extraordinary anti-small business new tariff
    i personally will be adding between 5 – 10kilos on an average day to RM by doing this
    if all sellers who are hit by this new levy (the loss of the lower weight bands) joined the sandbag protest then Royal Mail might grind to a halt under the weight of its own greed!

    Please encourage others to join the sandbag protest

    • 10 years ago

      What a silly idea !. I can see you getting lots of SNAD’s haha.

      Look on the bright side.
      Its VERY easy now to work out the postage price on an item.
      If its less than 751 grams, it will be one price.
      Of course the down side is our 99 gram items wont be worth selling anymore.

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