Asendia: from start-up to global e-commerce player

Every second around the world, someone orders a new pair of sneakers or a fashion item from an online shop in another country. It’s highly likely that the ordering process and international shipping is handled by Asendia, a company in which Swiss Post has held an equity stake for the past eight years. Why exactly?

Asendia is a joint venture between Swiss Post and France’s La Poste, and was founded in 2012. The company has more than 1,500 employees throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia/New Zealand, operating in 25 locations across 15 countries. It provides cross-border shipping solutions for business customers, including mail-order companies, worldwide. Asendia handles the shipment of goods, the international distribution of promotional mailings, newspapers and magazines, and business mail for its customers. The company is very familiar with how postal systems in these countries work and can call upon postal and parcel service providers’ networks across the globe.

Since 2012, Asendia has set up new country subsidiaries, expanded its presence in the USA and the UK, and acquired shareholdings in the successful e-commerce companies eShopWorld and Anchanto.



Asendia facilitates cross-border trade
Cross-border online trade is enjoying strong growth worldwide and in almost all product categories. Smaller and medium-sized companies are also increasingly aiming to move into new markets. If, for example, an online trader wants to send goods to Brazil, it needs to familiarize itself with the special features of this market: understanding payment practices, specific customs regulations and returns habits are vital to help ensure trouble-free international sales. International mail-order firms can benefit from Asendia’s full range of services, experience and expertise. Meanwhile, the joint venture can handle all their logistics operations including imports, customs clearance and final delivery. Asendia connects countries worldwide and facilitates global cross-border shopping – including for customers in Switzerland.

That’s why Asendia is a key part of Swiss Post’s portfolio, and will continue to be so in future. Swiss export and recipient customers, in particular, enjoy the benefits it offers. Swiss Post recognized the potential of online retail many years ago and quickly adapted its logistics business to gear up to this trend. The cross-border small goods and online business is essential to Swiss Post’s financial success.



Import shipments in Switzerland: Asendia plays a key role
Some 100,000 small goods consignments arrive in Swiss Post centers from abroad every day – also thanks to Asendia – via Zurich and Geneva airports. Hundreds of containers filled with mail bags are unloaded from planes, transported, cleared through customs and delivered. More than three-quarters of small goods consignments come from Asia.

Online retail sees boom during coronavirus crisis
With the boom in online trade, we saw a 10 percent increase in both export and import volumes for small goods consignments in Europe due to coronavirus. During the health crisis, cross-border postal traffic experienced an exceptional situation. Before the coronavirus outbreak, Asendia mainly used passenger planes to transport consignments. With almost all passenger flights having been cancelled by the airlines, the company gradually set up a freight network with partners, using chartered aircraft. The business results for Asendia show that it has successfully maintained its position in a global growth market over recent weeks and months and is growing strongly, despite the lockdown measures used worldwide.


Three strategic questions for Ueli Hurni, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Asendia


Ueli Hurni, what is Asendia’s strategy?

Asendia wants to grow. It has evolved from a postal company focusing on mail into an e-commerce company, and now generates 80 percent of its revenue in this business area.

In 2014, Asendia took an equity stake in the start-up eShopWorld, which is currently seeing strong growth and now operates e-commerce platforms for Nike, MaxMara, Victoria’s Secret, Tarte, Kerin and American Eagle. When Asendia was founded in 2012, it generated total revenue of around 450 million euros. Since then, the company has not only passed the milestone of one billion in revenue, it actually recorded total revenue this year of 1.5 billion euros this year.


How does Asendia fit in with the new Swiss Post of tomorrow strategy?

Asendia is ideally suited to Swiss Post’s strategy, as the Group not only wants to maintain its traditional core business in Switzerland but also develop its activities abroad. Swiss Post will, in turn, strengthen its import business into Switzerland and, in the longer term, its exports abroad. We’re also developing significant synergy potential with our partner, France’s La Poste.


How will Asendia develop in the near future?

We’re pleased to see how Asendia has performed in recent years.

With revenue of well over 1 billion euros, Asendia is one of the leading international e-commerce companies worldwide. We’ll consistently pursue our growth plans in the upcoming 2020–2023 strategy period.