Royal Mail's profits soar ahead of privatisation

On 21 May, Royal Mail announced that its profits had increased a whopping 60% to £324m, achieved through cost control, higher revenue from packages and parcels ordered by internet shopping, and also last year’s sharp rise in stamp prices. The profits announcement comes at a time when the government prepares to privatise the business.

There is some uncertainty over Royal Mail’s future, however, due mainly to union opposition to a public floatation, which could mean that Royal Mail is instead sold to foreign investors.

Unsurprisingly, the news of Royal Mail’s soaring profits against this privatisation backdrop had a significant impact on consumer perception.

If we look at Royal Mail’s Buzz score (which measures whether consumers have heard anything positive or negative about the brand), we can see that it increased from -7.4 on 20 May to -0.6 on 24 May (+6.8).

Moving onto the social media sphere, we have also looked at the impact of this announcement on Twitter.

Using YouGov’s social media analysis tool, SoMA, we can see that 26.2% of the UK Twitter population heard about Royal Mail on the day of the announcement, compared to just 1.1% the previous day.

The three most popular words mentioned alongside Royal Mail on 21 May were ‘profits’, ‘year’ and ‘privatise’.

This analysis indicates that while Royal Mail steams ahead in terms of profits, the debate and uncertainty surrounding its future rages on, with the corporation arguing it needs to privatise to invest more in its thriving parcel business, while the union says privatisation would result in higher prices and worse service for consumers.

It will be interesting to monitor consumer perception of Royal Mail in the coming months as the debate over its future will undoubtedly hot up as its proposed privatisation draws closer and closer.

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