Are Parcel Lockers the Future of Last-Mile Delivery? - Parcel Monitor

Dec 14, 2021

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COVID-19 has undoubtedly altered the face of e-commerce worldwide. Amid the rise of e-commerce and the ongoing logistical challenges, more and more businesses are starting to explore the myriad of delivery options available out there. Parcel lockers, for instance, are just one type of alternative last-mile delivery method that is rising in popularity. 

Indeed, there are many reasons to invest in parcel lockers. From cutting costs in the logistics chain to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there are plenty of benefits associated with these automated parcel machines. Could they perhaps be the future of last-mile delivery? Or are they merely a hype that will soon die down? 

Let’s find out!

Rising Popularity of Parcel Lockers

The IPC Cross-border E-commerce Shopper Survey 2020 provided a comprehensive insight into global customers’ delivery preferences and experiences. When respondents were asked which delivery method they had used at least once in the past year, home delivery was the most popular among the respondents; 86% of them having used it at least once in the past year. The second and third place belonged to mailboxes and post offices, standing at 78% and 51% respectively. 

Even though parcel lockers were not as in demand, there has been a steady increase in their usage over the years — 3% in 2018 to 4% in 2019, and then 4.4% in 2020. When it comes to consumers’ preferred parcel returns location, parcel lockers came in fourth place; the highest being in Estonia, Poland, and Lithuania.

Benefits of Parcel Lockers

Parcel lockers have become an essential part of last-mile delivery. And yet, when it comes to cross-border deliveries, this delivery method is still severely under-utilized.

Parcel Lockers Are the Safer, More Sustainable Choice

Parcel lockers appear to be the perfect solution during the pandemic where reduced contact is very much preferred. As the carrier just needs to place the items in parcel lockers, there is no reason for consumers and delivery drivers to come into direct contact.  Since carriers will only need to deliver to one place instead of multiple addresses, there is an added advantage of cutting the emissions.  

Parcel Lockers and the Peak Season Adaptability

While parcel lockers are not exactly built to fulfill the surge in orders during peak seasons, they do serve as an incentive for shoppers to pick up their parcels earlier. Additionally, in some markets, customers’ purchases from different online retailers can be placed in one compartment; making it easy for customers to collect their purchases altogether.

Adoption of Parcel Lockers across Regions

Australia 

Australia first launched its parcel locker system in 2014 together with MyPost Deliveries. The incorporated service enables customers to choose their preferred last-mile delivery methods, be it their home, a nearby post office, or parcel lockers. Parcel lockers adoption seems to be trending upwards in Australia; 12.4% year-on-year growth in 2020.

Germany

Deutsche Post has set up approximately 7,000 parcel lockers across Germany and the figure is predicted to reach 8,500 by the end of 2021. The company is working towards having 12,500 parcel lockers in operation by the end of 2023.  

In our previous analysis, we saw a rising trend in the number of German customers who opt for self-pickup after the vaccine rollouts. With ambitious plans of having more collection points across the country, will the adoption increase even further?

Sweden

PostNord has introduced 330 parcel lockers in metropolis areas such as Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. By the end of 2022, they expect to distribute 4,500 of them all over the big cities and rural areas. 

iBoxen, a relatively new player in the field, aims to cover the whole country with 5,000 parcel lockers in the next 5 years. When compared to SwipBox, the approach and model of iBoxen’s lockers are relatively similar and it is said that their entire network will be carrier-agnostic.

For the full analysis, check out IPC’s full report here

About IPC

International Post Corporation (IPC) is the leading service provider of the global postal industry that provides leadership by driving service quality, interoperability, and business-critical intelligence to support posts in defending existing business and expanding into new growth areas. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, IPC has positioned itself as a crucial coordination platform between posts worldwide and put in place operational solutions to ensure the continuity of cross-border mail flows.

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