Top 9 parcel delivery companies in France

Choosing the best shipping provider for your Online Shop

As Europe’s 3rd largest e-commerce market and 6th worldwide, France represents a great opportunity for any e-merchant who wishes to develop or export their products there. A great opportunity that must be put in parallel with the challenges to be overcome, such as e-commerce logistics. Indeed, in France, 84% of online shoppers are ready to buy from another website to benefit from a more adapted delivery and 59% of them would abandon their shopping cart at the time of choosing the delivery option if it does not suit them.

Choosing the right partner for parcel delivery services is therefore of paramount importance. In addition to the choice ability, which seems important to French buyers, there are also two important aspects to note. First, the delivery speed. In France, almost one-third of French people buy from Amazon (the market share of the American giant in French e-commerce is 20%), which has led to a shift in expectations when it comes to delivery speed due to Amazon’s high standards.

Furthermore, the second aspect is the delivery method. The most common is, obviously, home delivery, however, France is one of the leading countries in Europe, if not in the world, in terms of delivery at pick-up & go locations (68% of buyers prefer this delivery method).

Therefore, in order to establish and optimize deliveries from your online shop in France, you should focus on choosing the most suitable delivery service provider in the country. Please note that in France, the most popular are the following:

french parcel shipping provider

It should be noted also that La Poste Group’s three subsidiaries (Colissimo, Chronopost, and DPD) account for a 60% market share in France.

How to choose the right parcel delivery service for your e-commerce shop?

There is no ideal solution when it comes to choosing the delivery service provider. E-commerce companies should take several things into account, and while most focus on delivery speed and costs, customer and market preferences should also be considered. Finding the most suitable partner for your online shop can have immediate and long-term positive effects. On this basis, we focus on the most important points to be considered:

  • Number of parcels per day/week/month
  • Size and weight of packages
  • What are consumers’ delivery preferences?
  • Are parcels delivered domestically or internationally?
  • Is it appropriate to use the services of several service providers?
  • What are your priorities?

Top 9 parcel delivery services in France

We will now present the main parcel delivery services in France. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and is not a ranking either. All the services presented below (the most used in France) have their advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to make your choice according to the expectations and needs of your company and your customers.

The Top 9 delivery companies in France :

Colissimo

Colissimo is certainly the most popular and most used parcel delivery service in France, offered by La Poste since 1989 (the French public postal service from the La Poste Group). It enables professionals and private individuals to package and stamp mail and parcels. Colissimo parcels are notably delivered by postmen, but can also be picked up at a post office. Below you can read some relevant facts and figures about this parcel delivery service provider:

  • La Poste Group recorded a turnover of €25.9 billion in 2019, of which €1.8 billion for the parcel delivery sector.
  • 17,000 sales outlets and pick-up stations throughout France, making it the number one distribution network in France, capable of handling 1.3 million customers a day.
  • 362 million parcels and mail delivered in 2019 in France and 21.6 billion worldwide
  • 210,000 employees in France

Advantages

  • Largest distribution network and touchpoints at domestic level and strong presence at European level
  • Tracked delivery including home or post office with insurance and return management included
    • €23 / kg for home delivery without signature
    • €33 / kg for home delivery with a signature
  • Various commitments in favor of sustainable development: recycled packaging materials, optimization of transport, sustainable mobility (30,000 electric vehicles), and a carbon neutrality program

Disadvantages

  • Low flexibility on timetables and delivery possibilities
  • Limited parcel size and weight
    • Minimum weight: 10 g – Maximum weight: 30 kg
    • Minimum length: 16 cm – Maximum length: 100 cm
    • Maximum dimensions: L+l+h ≤ 150 cm (surcharges from 151 cm to 200 cm)
  • Offers and services are mainly focused on the French market

Other services and delivery options

  • Colissimo France, overseas & international
  • Colissimo tracking
  • Colissimo with or without a signature
  • Colissimo 24 & 48h
  • Colissimo registered parcel
  • Colissimo pick-up & go

Chronopost

A subsidiary of DPDgroup (which is also a subsidiary of La Poste Group), Chronopost specializes in express delivery. It is even number 1 in France for express delivery of parcels up to 30kg to businesses and private individuals. It is also the first parcel delivery service to have made a tracking service available to its customers. Like Colissimo, the company benefits from the resources and national network of the French public postal service and DPDgroup, but also from a strong international presence. Chronopost in figures :

  • The company employs 3,900 people
  • 176 million parcels delivered in 2019
  • Presence and processing capacity in nearly 230 countries and territories
  • Turnover in excess of €7 billion (for DPDgroup as a whole)

Advantages

  • National and international coverage through the La Poste Group and DPDgroup networks
  • Express delivery within 24 hours on average at domestic level (leader in France)
  • Flexibility in delivery methods (home, pick-up & go or branch)

Disadvantages

  • Rates higher than the competition
  • Integrations for e-commerce professionals limited to Magento, Prestashop, and WooCommerce platforms.

Other services and delivery options

  • Predict (customized service allowing the recipient to choose place and date of the delivery at any time)
  • Chrono 10, 13 & 18 (home delivery before 10am, 1pm and 6pm)
  • Chrono Classic (express delivery in 2 to 4 days to 27 European countries)
  • Chronopost International
  • Chrono Relais (delivery the next day before 1pm by Pickup relay express)
  • Chrono Relais Europe (delivery to 32,000 relays in Europe in 2 to 4 days)
  • Chrono Express (express delivery from 1 to 4 days to the European Union and the rest of the world)

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DPD

DPD France (subsidiary DPDgroup, the second-largest parcel delivery network in Europe), is a parcel delivery service, founded in 1999, whose main activity is shipping in Europe. Below you can read some relevant facts and figures about this parcel delivery service provider :

  • DPD has 77,000 employees (2,100 in France).
  • Annual revenue of approximately $8.9 billion
  • 1.3 billion parcels handled in 2019
  • 320,000 parcels passing through the DPD France network every day
  • 42,000 DPD shops in Europe (58 agencies and 6 sorting agencies in France)
  • DPD offsets 100% of its carbon emissions through the purchase of carbon credits.

Advantages

  • Flexible offers
  • A large number of shops and DPD pick-up locations in Europe

Disadvantages

  • Limited coverage and in-house expertise in the US

Other services and delivery options

  • Predict (customized service allowing the recipient to choose place and date of the delivery at any time)
  • DPD Classic, Classic Europe, Classic Intercontinental
  • Pickup et Pickup Drive
  • Drone delivery
  • DPD Air Classic & Express

Mondial Relay

Mondial Relay is a French company specialized in the delivery of parcels to individuals. The company is in direct competition with Relais Colis for the position of the best delivery company in France in pick-up & go locations. Although its core business is initially the delivery between private individuals, Mondial Relay has been able to develop a personalized offer for e-merchants thanks to an international network of pick-up & go locations in 4 countries and the possibility of delivery in 9 European countries. A few facts and figures about Mondial Relay:

  • A network of more than 40,000 pick-ups & go locations including 10,000 in France, 2,000 in Spain, 900 in Belgium and Luxembourg, and 400 in the Netherlands.
  • 55,000 e-merchants in Europe already trust Mondial Relay.
  • The company employs 1,000 people
  • A turnover of €450 million and more than 125 million parcels delivered

Advantages

  • Significant expertise and coverage of the French market
  • Acknowledged expertise in pick-up & go locations delivery

Disadvantages

  • Limited home delivery services
  • International offer and expertise still limited

Other services and delivery options

  • Reverse (return process management)
  • Mondial Relay Drive (for large parcels)
  • Mondial Relay Home (home delivery)

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Relais Colis

With more than 50 years of experience in France, Relais Colis claims to be the leading network for delivering parcels to consumers at pick-up & go locations and at home, but also as the essential partner for e-commerce activities. The company, financially supported by DHL in its transformation plan and its international development (today in Belgium), is considered as the precursor of delivery by collection point and by appointment. A few facts and figures about the e-commerce delivery specialist in France:

  • 40 million parcels delivered per year, including 2 million home deliveries
  • More than 1 billion parcels delivered in 50 years
  • 5,200 pick-up & go locations in France. It should be noted that 83% of the population is less than 10 minutes away from a Relais Colis point.

Advantages

  • Significant expertise and coverage of the French market
  • Acknowledged expertise in pick-up & go locations delivery
  • Affordable prices in comparison to direct competitors (pick-up & go solutions)

Disadvantages

  • Limited home delivery services
  • International offer and expertise still limited

Other services and delivery options

  • Relais Colis First, Home, Express, Drive
  • Smart option (QR code for a smooth and contactless pick up)
  • Zen option (insurance)
  • Easy Upload (to upload a massive amount of orders easily) 
  • Relay Colis widget (to include pick up & go locations map on your website)

DHL

The German parcel delivery company DHL was founded in 1969. It is a subsidiary of the world’s largest logistics company, Deutsche Post DHL. In France, the main service offered by the German multinational is DHL Express. Here are some impressive facts and figures about this shipping company:

  • DHL recorded a turnover of 4.05 billion euros for the e-commerce sector in 2019 worldwide
  • DHL shipped 1.6 billion parcels in 2019 alone worldwide
  • The company employs 380,000 people worldwide
  • DHL is available in 200 countries and territories
  • Environmentally friendly transport options available

Advantages

  • Strong international orientation
  • Express delivery service

Disadvantages

  • Less used and less developed on the domestic level

Other services and delivery options

  • DHL Express International
  • DHL Express 24h
  • DHL Express with signature

FedEx

The US company, which operates worldwide, is best known for pioneering all other parcel delivery service companies by making real-time tracking of parcels possible. It should also be noted that since 2016, FedEx has acquired the Dutch company TNT to launch its “express” services under the name FedEx Express. You might be interested in the following facts and figures:

  • 70 billion in revenue in 2019
  • 4,300 employees in France
  • A processing capacity of 51,000 parcels per hour worldwide during seasonal peaks
  • 48 sites in France and a fleet of 1,000 vehicles

Advantages

  • Saturday deliveries
  • Large air fleet

Disadvantages

  • Stronger presence in the USA than in Europe
  • Little presence in France
  • Small land fleet

Other services and delivery options

  • FedEx International Next Flight, First, Priority, Economy, Ground
  • FedEx Europe First
  • FedEx Express and Express FR

UPS

The US company, founded in 1907, is the world leader in express parcel delivery. Operating in more than 200 countries and territories, its main objective is to simplify international trade. It is also one of the leading providers of specialized transport, logistics, capital, and e-commerce services. Here are some impressive facts and figures about the American company:

  • 13 billion dollars in revenue last year in the logistics sector
  • UPS has 495,000 employees
  • 5.5 billion parcels handled last year

Advantages

  • Fast delivery
  • Large land fleet
  • Environmentally friendly options

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than the competition
  • Location extra charges added
  • Saturday delivery is an additional service

Other services and delivery options

  • UPS Standard
  • UPS Express
  • UPS Access Point
  • Express Saver

GLS

The Dutch delivery company, founded in 1999, is a subsidiary of the English Royal Mail. Its international network enables them to transport and deliver parcels to more than 40 countries in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The French branch of the company has three main divisions: fast delivery, solutions for e-merchants (3 years in a row winner of the E-commerce Awards in the supply chain category), and expertise in health products. GLS in figures:

  • More than 1,450 employees in France
  • 6,000 pick-up & go locations, 95 branches, and 10 order processing hubs
  • A network covering 40 countries and more than 667 million parcels are handled by the GLS Group.
  • Revenues for 2019 reaching €3.6 billion

Advantages

  • Great expertise in the field of e-commerce
  • International coverage

Disadvantages

  • French national network less developed than the competition

Other services and delivery options

  • Business Parcel
  • ShopDelivery Parcel
  • Eurobusiness Parcel
  • FlexDelivery Parcel
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Conclusion

Having the right logistics and fulfillment strategy determines the success or failure of the majority of e-commerce companies. Research also shows that for many online shoppers it is important to know which parcel delivery companies are available to ship their planned purchases.

In France, the importance of the delivery method is growing, with increasing use of pick-up & go deliveries. For example, the La Poste Group (Chronopost, Colissimo, and DPD France) has created a national network called PickUp, bringing together the major e-commerce players in France, for nearly 100 million parcels processed in 2019.

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