Laptop2 Every Belgian will soon get a single electronic mailbox (eBox)... The end of paper?  Or not?

Every Belgian will soon get a single electronic mailbox (eBox)... The end of paper? Or not?

Invoices, pay slips, certificates, and so on: soon, Belgians will be able to receive these, and send these, from their own personal digital mailbox.

Such an eBox, a comprehensive electronic mailbox, has one simple login, and according to Digital Agenda Minister De Croo will mean 'less administration, less hassle and less wasted time'. Moreover, known providers of digital mailboxes, such as Zoomit and Doccle, will have the opportunity to be involved.

What do Belgians think about this eBox?  We investigated this question (Survey among 1220 Belgians, representative sample).

The trusted physical mailbox

Our tried and trusted physical letterbox is still very popular. No less than 88% of Belgians, primarily those over 40, still empty their letterbox every day. When Belgians are given a choice between a physical or digital mailbox, almost one in three still prefers the physical version. Of all provinces, these figures are the highest in ‘Namen’, followed by ‘Henegouwen’ and ‘West-Vlaanderen’. In addition, women are more likely to choose a physical mailbox than men.

What are the most important motives behind keeping a physical letterbox?

  • Preference for paper, or having a paper trail. It is interesting to note that the youngest age group (18-29 years old) cites these reasons most often,
  • Not using a PC often or not having the requisite skills. This is primarily the case among older age groups,
  • Fear of electronic problems (hacking, technical problems, privacy issues).

4 out of 5 Belgians have never used a digital mailbox.

Digital mailboxes

Digital communication has its advantages, but the possibilities for digital mailboxes are not sufficiently known about yet, and so the mailboxes are yet to be assimilated. Indeed, 4 out of 5 Belgians state that they have never used a digital mailbox, or are not aware of having done so. Those who do use them (at least once a week) use the following the most: My proximus (7%), Zommit (6%), Mijn Telenet (4%) and Doccle (4%).

When given the choice between a physical and a digital mailbox, less than a quarter of Belgians go for the latter. So what does make people opt for the digital alternative?

  • A digital mailbox reduces the paper mountain and so has a positive impact on the environment. This argument is most often cited by younger age groups (under 40),
  • No time lost through 'snail mail' delivery: the speed of an electronic mailbox is a clear advantage,
  • It is easy to archive and retrieve messages and important documents.
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The happy medium

Over half of Belgians are fans of a happy medium: a combination of a classic and a digital mailbox.

This allows them to:

  • Make a decision depending on the type and content of the post,
  • Have two options rather than one, and not be entirely dependent on digital post.

So, we have yet to fully enter the paperless era… which presents a big challenge for e-post providers.


What do Belgians opt for?

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Over half of Belgians opt for a combination of both mailboxes.