At the turn of the year, postal prices increased in Finland. For example, it now costs 90 cents to send a 2nd class letter, so the price is up by 20 per cent from last year. Itella, the service provider, has quoted declining service use as the reason for increasing prices.

And so, doesn’t the price rise only accelerate the decline in the use of conventional mail?

“To put prices in perspective, an average Finnish household annually spends some 30 euro for postal services – made up of two package deliveries and then letters – compared with about 700 euro spent on digital communications such as phone lines and broadband,” explains Ulla Seppälä, Vice President for Itella’s Consumer Services and Retail Network. “On average, the rise translates into 2 to 3 euro per home on the annual level.”

“Even if we had retained the former pricing, this would not have slowed down the pace of digitalisation in communications. Although Finland lags somewhat behind her Nordic counterparts in this, we are now at the beginning of a rapid decline in the use of conventional mail; by 2020 the volumes are expected to be half of what they are now.”

How is it that postal prices are the same for all parts of the country?

“Delivering a letter to the countryside can be many times more expensive compared with urban areas. But legislation states that the prices of mail deliveries to consumers must be the same for any region within a country, regardless of origin or destination. On the corporate side, regional pricing based more on actual expenses is an opportunity that we haven’t used so far but have considered for the future.”

Will the prices of parcel deliveries decline due to increased volumes (up by a million last year)?

“Due to generally increasing costs, the prices cannot be reduced. However, our service offering is diverse; our new parcel points provide a more affordable alternative for price-conscious customers. Parcels can be left at one parcel terminal and collected at another.”

Prices aside, snail mail will not disappear in our time – collectibles, knitted socks, even stool samples will still require delivery.

Mika Oksanen