Impact of COVID on Europe’s Logistics

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After the UK, Germany, and France respectively announced national lockdowns earlier this year, like the rest of the world, consumers began shifting towards online shopping. This was further boosted by the closure of physical retail stores which encouraged some consumers to start shopping online. 

The pandemic has created a boom in the UK’s e-commerce market, which is expected to generate sales totaling $105 billion this year. E-commerce in Germany and France is also expected to reach $92.33 billion and $77.27 billion in sales in 2020 respectively. 

This week, we looked into how these countries have fared amid the pandemic by comparing key delivery performance metrics in the months of January, April, and July:

  1. Transit time for both France and the UK increased the most from January to April.
    Transit time in France and the UK increased by 58% and 92.86% from January to April respectively. It would appear that logistics carriers faced initial challenges in keeping up with the surge in demand for parcel delivery. Logistics carriers also had to adhere to social distancing measures during this period, which reduced the personnel required to handle the increase in delivery volumes. We can see these challenging circumstances through initial reports on carrier companies such as Royal Mail in the UK and La Poste in France during the lockdown.
  2. Germany seems to have minimized the impact of COVID with the least impact on transit time from January to April.
    As compared to its European counterparts which saw an over 50% increase in transit times during this period, transit times in Germany increased by just 25%.
    This is consistent with our previous study on Germany’s peak season performance, where we found that there was a relatively low impact on transit times despite the large increase in shipment volumes in Germany then.
  3. Delivery attempt success rates across all three countries were highest in April despite the longer transit times.
    With most people staying home due to the lockdown, there was a drop in the number of missed deliveries. This is evident from our data: delivery success rates were at the highest in April which corresponds with the lockdown period for the UK, France, and Germany.

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