DtGV, the German Association for Consumer Studies, has tested 9 German parcel delivery services and looked at their prices, service and quality of shipping. GLS was the overall winner and also had the best delivery time. Hermes was rewarded with offering the best service, while DHL had the best prices and highest quality of shipping.

Christmas is near, so the delivery of packages will reach its annual high. And the sooner the holiday season starts, the more important it is to have a reliable service that operates on time, so customers are certain their gifts will arrive without any problems and in time for the holidays.

That’s why DtGV conducted the study in cooperation with N24. It looked at the following 9 parcel delivery companies: Cargo International, Der Courier, DHL, DPD, GLS, Hermes, iloxx, paket.ag and UPS.

By “mystery shopping” DtGV measured the performances of the companies in several test areas. It let specially qualified testers ship packages throughout Germany. The criteria were divided into four different weightings, depending on their relevance:
– Service (20% of the total score): Was pick-up or drop-off going smoothly? How were customers treated?
– Shipping time (30%): How long did it take for the test packages to arrive?
– Shipping quality (20%): Did the package and contents arrive without any damage?
– Prices (30%): What are the prices for parcel delivery within Germany and abroad for pick-up or drop-off?

When it comes to service, most parcel companies achieved quite good results, DtGV says. Only with two companies the testers had some problems with finding and understanding the appropriate form to make a parcel collection assignment.

Shipping service in Germany

One in 12 couriers appeared too late
The couriers who were ordered for picking up the parcel came in 92% of the test on the suggest date, in 8% of the cased they appeared one business day later than what was agreed on. “This is even more unpleasant when one considers that the time window for pick-up cannot be limited (or only for an additional charge) so customers normally need to be at home between 8 AM and 6 (or 8) PM.”

During the tests, it became clear that four of the packages that were supposed to be picked up at the customer never got in the hands of a parcel delivery service. Also a telephoned inquiry and arranging an alternative data didn’t help.

Shipping time in Germany

Average delivery time is 41 hours
The fastest package arrived at its destination in only about 17 hours, while others took five days to travel from sender to receiver. Two packages never arrived and the responsible companies said the address did not exist. “The address existed, however, and has been found by other parcel delivery companies without any problem”, DtGV states. It also found out that the average delivery time was 41 hours (1.5 business days). The fastest provider was GLS, which only needed an average of 35 hours to deliver a package. The slowest was Hermes, with an average delivery time of 59 hours.

DtVG wasn’t very positive about the quality of shipping. On average, 30% of the packages (containing fragile, seasonal items like chocolate Santa’s or glass Christmas ornaments) was damaged upon receiving it. “This clearly shows that many parcel delivery companies do not threat the goods we entrusted them with, with sufficient care, as our packages survived drops from up to one meter in height.”

Shipping quality in Germany

GLS and Paket.ag are delivery winners
In the overall evaluation of parcel delivery services it shows that GLS is the winner, with the fastes shipping and good service. DHL ends in second place with the best quality of shipping, while DPS ends with a third place. When only looking at the pick-up service, paket.ag is the winner, followed by Iloxx and Der Courier.