First-class stamps rise again from 2 October 2023
by Brean Horne, Senior Writer
First-class stamp prices will rise by 15p from 2 October 2023, taking the total cost for a standard stamp from £1.10 to £1.25.
Several other stamps will increase from October, except for standard second-class stamps which will hold steady at their current price of 75p.
It’s the second round of stamp price hikes we’ve seen this year as the Royal Mail continues to overcome cost pressures and economic challenges.
Here, we explain how much stamps will cost from October and ways to beat the hike.
Stamp prices from 2 October 2023
The table below rounds up what stamps will cost to post standard and large letters from 2 October 2023.
|Class||Letter type||Dimensions||Weight||Current price||New Price|
|First||Standard||Up to 24cm x 16.5cm x 5mm||Up to 100g||£1.10||£1.25 |
|First||Large||35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm||Up to 100g*||£1.60||£1.95|
|Second||Standard||Up to 24cm x 16.5cm x 5mm||Up to 100g||75p ||75p|
|Second||Large||35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm||Up to 100g*||£1.15||£1.55|
Royal Mail will also increase postage prices for its ‘Special Day Guaranteed’, ‘Signed For’, Parcelforce ‘Worldwide Next Day’ and ‘Two Day’ delivery services from 2 October. A full list of postage prices is available here.
Why are stamp prices rising again?
Mounting economic pressures and a decline in the number of letters being posted are the main contributing factors to stamp prices rising again.
According to the Royal Mail, a lack of reform of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) is taking its toll. Under the USO the Royal Mail has to deliver letters six days a week despite reports of a significant decline in letter volumes.
Letter volumes have fallen from around 20 billion in 2004/5 to 7 billion a year in 2022/23. On top of that, the number of households is increasing with around four million addresses added during that period.
In May 2023, Royal Mail reported a £419 million loss and calls to reform the current “unsustainable” USO agreement have grown.
Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail says: “We understand the economic challenges that many of our customers are currently facing and have considered the price changes very carefully in light of the significant decline in letter volumes.
“Letter volumes have reduced dramatically over recent years, down more than 60% from their peak in 2004/5 and 30% since the pandemic. It is vital that the Universal Service adapts to reflect this new reality.”
How to beat the stamp price hike
There are a couple of postal hacks to help you beat the stamp price increase and save on sending letters.
The first is to start stocking up on stamps now before they increase. If you’re an avid letter-sender this could help you cut the cost of postage significantly.
Another way to beat the price hike is to consider using a slower delivery service. For example, sending a standard letter by second-class post would cost you 75p compared to £1.10 for first-class – saving you 35p.
This saving increases to 50p once the cost of first-class stamps goes up on 2 October. The table below shows how much you could save by opting for second-class stamps.
|Letter type||Current 1st class price||Current 2nd class price||New 1st class price||New 2nd class price|
|Standard||£1.10 ||75p |
It’s worth noting that second-class delivery aims to deliver within three working days (rather than the next working day as with first-class). This isn’t a big deal if your letter isn’t urgent.
However, you’ll need to plan in advance if your letter needs to reach the recipient by a specific date.
Where possible, try to purchase stamps from your local Post Office or another authorised retailer (such as a supermarket or WH Smiths) to save as well.
Sometimes corner shops and even vendors on Amazon sell stamps at a marked-up price.
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Remember to swap out non-barcoded stamps
Non-barcoded stamps, which are also known as everyday stamps, expired on 31 July 2023.
These stamps featured the iconic picture of the late Queen’s profile on a solid-coloured background. And you’ll have seen them everywhere as they were commonly used to post letters.
Since 1 August 2023, Royal Mail introduced barcodes into stamps to integrate the postal service with the digital world.
Don’t worry If you still have non-barcoded stamps lying around as you can exchange them using the Royal Mail’s ‘Stamp Swap Out.’
This free-to-use scheme lets you trade in the old stamps for the new barcoded versions. You’ll have to use a special form to mail them off which you can pick up at your local Post Office or print it off online.
Check out our non-barcoded stamps guide to find out more about how the scheme works.