If you have to post an eBay order to another country the price can rack up very quickly, so we’ve taken a look at different international shipping options to find out which are cheap, and offer the best value for money.
For this comparison we are going to be shipping a pair of shoes from the UK to Germany using a standard 3 to 5 day service. The box measures 13.5cm by 11cm by 35cm and weighs 650g, which we think is a common package size for items on eBay. That makes it the perfect subject for our experiment!
The Royal Mail is a trusted delivery network for the UK, their cheapest international shipping option is Royal Mail International Tracked and Signed. This covers up to £50 of loss or damages, and you can buy it online where as some of the other options are only available at a Post Office branch. However you will still need to drop off the parcel at your local Post Office to attach a tracking label, according to their website.
Time: 3 - 5 days
Cost: £11.10 (exempt from VAT)
Parcel2Go helpfully arranges their quotes in columns for Express, Economy and Super Economy so you can easily compare cost and delivery time. The cheapest option for shipping this parcel internationally is MyHermes International Parcelshop. Your parcel will take between 3 - 7 days to arrive, and there is no delivery guarantee, and no compensation.
If you require a shorter shipping time, the cheapest option for 3 - 5 days delivery is DPD Classic European at £14.39, again with no compensation.
Time: 3 - 7 days
P4D is another comparison site which offers discounted prices on a range of couriers. Their cheapest option for international shipping is Packet Port at £17.50. Although slightly more this does cover you for £25, and should arrive within 3 - 6 days. Your parcel will be collected by Parcel Force between 7.30am and 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.
A quicker option is Euro Priority, which costs £20.75 but offers delivery within 2 days.
Time: 3 - 6 days
Parcel Monkey compares discounted shipping prices and allows you to book your delivery service online. Asendia was their cheapest option to post to Germany, coming in at £12.83, for 4 - 5 day delivery time. The item is collected by Yodel and and they offer coverage of £20 and you are able to track the item online. Their website also includes reviews of each service which we highly recommend reading before picking a service.
Time: 4 - 5 daysCost: £12.83
MyHermes offer a low cost and convenient delivery service. You can either drop your parcel off at one of their local ParcelShops or arrange for a courier to collect it for an extra charge (25p for the shoe box). The cheapest international shipping using MyHermes is £13.15, which matches what was found on Parcel2Go. The delivery time is longer at 3 - 9 days, but you are insured for up to £20.
Time: 3 - 9 days
DPD is one of the UK's largest courier companies, their lowest price for international shipping is £18. This option covers you for up to £75, and you can choose to drop off your parcel or have it collected. DPD also include parcel tracking, proof of delivery and a delivery window SMS notification to the recipient. Although not the cheapest this option offers good value for money with the additional services included.
Time: 2 - 3 days
Parcelforce is part of Royal Mail Group which is dedicated to delivering parcels. Their cheapest option is £21.54 for 3 - 5 days delivery time. While this is a little higher than your other options you are insured for up to £100. However, it is only available from a Post Office or at ParcelForce Worldwide depots.
Parcelforce is available for £20.75 on P4D with a two day delivery, however you are only covered for £25 - and the saving is only 79p!
Time: 3 - 5 days
How they stack up
Here's a spreadsheet showing how the services compare.
Shipping Comparison sites vs going directly to the courier
While shipping comparison sites might seem like an easy solution to your shipping problems, in this case they didn’t offer the best deal. Not only were they not the cheapest option, they don’t offer much compensation and are sometimes using lesser-known couriers.
If you want to find out more about which are the best and worst delivery companies, this poll surveyed over 9,000 people about 16 different delivery services.
Best on a budget
Royal Mail was the cheapest way to ship a parcel internationally as they don't charge VAT. They were also among the quickest delivery times, while also offering compensation of up to £50. Over all Royal Mail offer the cheapest international shipping, as well as good value for money.
Best for express delivery
If you need to ship a parcel internationally quickly and at a low cost, then DPD is the best choice. For £18 they offer a 2 - 3 day delivery time.
Best for high value items
Parcelforce offer insurance for contents up to the value of £100, so if you're looking for cheap international shipping for a valuable item is a good choice.
Most flexible option
If you need flexibility, then MyHermes is a good option because you can either have the parcel collected or drop it off at a local ParcelShop. There are thousands of ParcelShops in the UK meaning it can be the most convenient option.