1.3. Background to the research
London Economics was commissioned by Post Office Limited to assess the economic impact and social value of Post Office.
- The economic impact was assessed using a combination of internal Post Office data, regional and sectoral multipliers and an online survey of Postmasters. A full methodology is available in Annex 1.
- The economic impact was assessed by considering the direct, indirect and induced impact of the expenditure³ of Post Office’s more than 11,500 branches and Post Office Limited, as well as the FTE jobs supported by Post Office branches and Post Office Limited.
- The results from the Postmaster survey also allowed for the additional expenditure within retail outlets to be assessed.
³ A definition of direct, indirect and induced impacts is present in Section 2.1
- The social value was assessed through two surveys which were administered by YouGov in July and August 2022. These surveys were of 2,044 consumers and 1,017 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A full methodology is available in Annex 2.
- The overall social value of Post Office was found using a contingent valuation approach, where respondents were asked for their willingness to pay for the Post Office network overall.
- The social value of different Post Office services was determined through choice experiments, which revealed respondents’ willingness to pay for each Post Office service.
- The social value of the distance to the nearest post office and the distance to Post Office services was also assessed through the surveys, using contingent valuation and a choice experiment.
- Additional questions were asked in the surveys relating to issues such as the importance of characteristics of Post Office and the additional expenditure by Post Office customers on the high street.
- An important caveat to the findings in this study is the state of the United Kingdom’s economy when the surveys were conducted. In this period, there was a 40-year high in inflation and unprecedented reductions in household disposable income, regular
pay in real terms, and consumer confidence. As a result, it is likely that many of the findings presented throughout this study are underestimates compared to results that would have been identified in more normal economic circumstances.⁴
⁴ Further Discussion on this issue is present in Section 6.1 and Annex 2
This report combines these analyses and presents the value of Post Office based on five key themes:
- The big picture: a nationwide network delivering nationwide economic value
- Enabling enterprise: the unseen part of the United Kingdom’s economic infrastructure
- Anchoring economics: the role of post offices in sustaining our high streets
- Part and parcel of life in the United Kingdom: Post offices as the social and consumer hubs of communities
- More than just a shop: supporting the most vulnerable and excluded in our society
It is likely that many of the findings presented throughout this study areunderestimated compared to results that would have been identified in more normal economic circumstances.