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What were the e-commerce trends you noticed in 2020?
The pandemic outbreak last year shocked many industries globally, and retail businesses were ‘forced’ to rethink their existing strategies and adopt new business models. The logistics and supply chain industry also took a hit with the unprecedented surge in e-commerce demand amid international border closures.
One of the key trends we observed was the rise in usage of collection points and parcel lockers during the pandemic outbreak; a contactless and convenient delivery alternative. Curious whether this trend is here to stay post-COVID, we looked into the key developments in collections and parcel lockers in the US, UK, and Poland in 2020.
This study features data on the percentage of parcels delivered to collection points and parcel lockers in the US, UK, and Poland for the full year of 2020 (excl. parcels from Amazon).
Parcel lockers in the US, UK, and Poland
Our data suggest that only 3.7% of parcels in the US were delivered to collection points and parcel lockers, while the UK and Poland had 4.5% and 10.5% respectively. Whilst it might appear that consumers in the US and UK have yet to fully embrace this delivery alternative, with more retailers and logistics providers offering such services, we believe this number will increase greatly in the years to come.
Retail access points are preferred over parcel lockers in the US
In the US, FedEx, Amazon, UPS, and USPS offer over 70,000 access points that allow recipients to pick up their parcels at different locations. These access points are not restricted to parcel lockers and come in various forms: e.g. drop boxes, carrier shipping centers, third-party retail stores, and more. On the other hand, US carriers have yet to embrace parcel lockers due to the high costs involved; a regular parcel locker in the US costs over USD 30,000.
The alternative delivery market in the US will continue to grow this year. With demand for buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) on the rise, more US retailers are offering services such as curbside pickup. Retailers who offered BOPIS services in 2020 saw a 49% increase in online sales, and sales from “click-and-collect” in the US are projected to reach more than $100 billion in 2022.
InPost and Amazon are setting up huge parcel locker networks in the UK
InPost, Polish parcel locker provider, and Amazon have rolled out multiple parcel lockers networks across the UK. As of June 2020, Inpost has a nationwide network of over 1,200 fully automated parcel lockers while Amazon has approximately 3,000 parcel lockers in the UK.
InPost’s parcel locker network is available for major carriers in the UK as well: UK Mail, DX, DHL Express, Hermes, and APC overnight. The Polish company, InPost, recently celebrated its success by raising $3.4 billion in IPO as demand for automated parcel lockers is increasing.
Brands like Missguided have worked with parcel locker providers like InPost during the peak season. This is to promote a safe and contactless delivery and returns experience for customers.
Poland’s parcel locker network is expanding increasingly fast
In our previous study on Poland, we found that 56% of parcels in collection points and parcel lockers were collected within 24 hours. A study by Furgonetka.pl suggests that parcel locker delivery is the preferred delivery option in Poland, second to courier delivery.
Poland is also named the fastest-growing parcel locker market in Europe, with over 28,000 unique pick-up-and-drop-off (PUDO) points. One of the dominating last-mile players, InPost, has over 9,200 automated parcel lockers nationwide. During the early stages of the pandemic outbreak, InPost’s services allowed consumers to retrieve their parcels with minimum to zero physical contact with another individual. This spiked interest and rise in usage of parcel lockers within the country.
That being said, there is another strong contender for having the largest parcel locker network in the world. To find out which country surpassed Poland, watch our second Fireside Chat episode at the bottom of the page!
Will parcel locker be the future of e-commerce and last-mile delivery?
Our verdict? Parcel lockers and collection points are here to stay.
Parcel lockers have proven to be a convenient, flexible, and safe alternative in 2020. The pandemic outbreak opened up new possibilities for last-mile deliveries, fuelling interest and growth in parcel lockers and collection points. Apart from Europe, countries like Singapore are also working on increasing the number of accessible parcel lockers islandwide.
For a deeper dive into parcel lockers, check out our Fireside Chat with Parcel & E-Commerce and Last-Mile Expert, Marek Rozycki on the future of e-commerce and last-mile delivery!
“A route served by parcel lockers was at least 3-4 times more productive than a traditional courier route…When a courier goes to your address, he has to navigate to a private address which is not always as intuitive as a locker because effectively a locker is like a B2B address. It’s in a fixed place with good parking and visibility and it doesn’t tend to move around too much.” – Marek Rozycki, Parcel & E-commerce Last-Mile Expert.