How Customer Demands are Reshaping Last Mile Delivery

Business-to-business logistics impacted the way items traveled throughout the world for many years. Consumer demands may now have the highest impact than ever before.

Pricing, mode of transport, and delivery dependability all played a role in deciding which brand-name logistics company won the contract. Then there was e-commerce. It adopted some of the B2B delivery tactics in those early days, and seasoned logistics organizations with names we’re all acquainted with gained a large piece of that market as well.

In the foreseeable future, three factors will have an impact on last-mile consumer deliveries:

  • Consumers desire speedier delivery to their homes, yet they are price-conscious.
  • Soon, autonomous vehicles (including autonomous ground vehicles (AGV) with parcel lockers and drones) will transport 80 percent of shipments.
  • Consumer sentiment and regulation for autonomous vehicles will decide how fast things shift, but these things could start shifting from visionary ideas to reality within the coming ten years.

Great Expectations of Customers: 

Customer expectations are higher than they’ve ever been, and they’re just becoming higher. Customers want their shipments to arrive in pristine shape and on schedule, which is understandable. They expect delivery to be quick and inexpensive, if not completely free. They also frequently anticipate real-time tracking and prompt customer assistance. 

Many clients also want their items to arrive within twenty-four hours, if not the same day. Because of this move, there will be a higher amount of smaller deliveries, which will add to the difficulties.

Logistics businesses are under pressure to minimize emissions and pollution. Because the final mile frequently involves already crowded areas, several cities are experimenting with laws to reduce emissions, such as prohibiting entry to freight trucks above a specific size, weight, or emissions threshold or establishing delivery time constraints. Different rules for different cities add to the difficulty of constantly matching client expectations.

Covid-19 and Customers’ Demands: 

Urbanization and the Covid-19 pandemic are driving up delivery volumes. In April 2020, the proportion of individuals in the UK, France, and Germany who conducted more than half of their shopping online increased to 80%. After the epidemic has gone, 8 out of 10 customers plan to continue purchasing as much as possible online. The surge in demand for logistics services expected in 2020 appears to be a long-term trend.


This increasing demand means more reverse logistics. The more deliveries mean, the more returns. It puts pressure on companies to ensure they can process the higher volume of returns and get it proper the first time to keep costs low.

As the popularity of internet shopping grows, so will the need for home delivery. Many businesses that cater to that need will provide redundant services, resulting in wasted emissions. As a result, governments, states, and municipal governments may be tasked with the last-mile distribution. It might help the service function more sustainably by reducing the number of trips each delivery.

Stats about Consumers’ Prefrences: 

Last-mile delivery, particularly packages, has recently gotten a lot of media and investor attention. Global package delivery costs are estimated to be over €70 billion, excluding pickup, line-haul, and sorting, with China, Germany, and the United States accounting for more than 40% of the industry. Not only is the market enormous, but it’s also quite dynamic, with growth rates in developed areas (such as Germany and the United States) ranging from 7% to 10% in 2015 and more than 100% in developing markets. E-commerce, which has transferred market share from the B2B to the B2C category, is, unsurprisingly, the main driver of this rise.

Consumer preferences have become increasingly significant in the hitherto business-oriented parcel-delivery sector, thanks to the advent of e-commerce. Last-mile services have been acknowledged as a critical distinction by large e-commerce businesses and diverse start-ups. In reality, the number of delivery alternatives and the perceived quality of the service are crucial decision-making factors for online customers. Hence, this has a direct impact on e-commerce firms’ market performance. With this in mind, vendors are working hard to offer the best customer experience possible, especially by enhancing delivery times. A survey was conducted with more than 4,700 respondents in China, Germany, and the United States to understand what customers prefer.

Delivery-model Customers Preferences: 

Almost a quarter of customers are ready to pay a premium for same-day or quick delivery. Given that younger consumers are more likely (just over 30%) to prefer same-day and instant delivery over regular delivery, this share is expected to grow.

Despite the significant number of people prepared to pay a premium for same-day delivery, just 2% stated they would pay enough to make immediate delivery a reality (assuming the consumer would have to bear the additional cost of this fast service). In any case, by 2025, same-day and immediate delivery will have a combined market share of 20 to 25%, and they will likely increase even faster, specifically if the service is expanded to include rural regions.

Consumer choices and drop density (longer distances in rural areas, for example, highly increased last-mile costs), three consumer delivery models also known as X2C, or goods delivered to consumers are likely to dominate last-mile delivery in the future: autonomous ground vehicles with parcel lockers, drones, and bike couriers.

Two of them will have a high level of automation and asset intensity. Drones and autonomous vehicles will transport nearly 100% of X2C products and 80% of all items. In the relatively modest instant-delivery category, bike couriers will deliver around 2% of the time. The remaining products, roughly 20%, will be sent through casual delivery.

Large B2B clients with high drop factors, the number of shipments dropped per stop or recipient, and particular delivery needs, such as hanging products, would choose mainly human delivery as we know it today. People will still expect containers to be taken up to their flats and returns to be handled directly in the case of e-grocery delivery.

Adoption of Self-Driving Delivery Methods: 

Depending on public attitude, legislation, and labor costs, the pace at which the aforementioned last-mile-delivery scenarios may be realized will vary. The early adoption of these new self-driving delivery methods will be concentrated in wealthy countries, where labor costs are high enough to provide a considerable return on investment. However, labor costs in the developing world are expected to stay low enough to prevent any substantial technological breakthroughs from influencing the final mile in the next five to ten years. Regulation will need to alter significantly (for example, regarding liability for damages caused by autonomous vehicles). But these obstacles will be surmounted in the next ten years, thanks to the might of the big automakers.

At the same time, public perception of autonomous cars and drones is shifting, with 60% of customers saying they are in favor of, or at least neutral toward, drone deliveries. As a result, there’s no reason to believe that, at least in the developed world, the shift won’t happen in the next decade.

Customers and delivery businesses are becoming more aware of the importance of last-mile logistics. Customers want outstanding service in a short amount of time, while legislators seek long-term answers. Experimentation to minimize emissions, mistakes, and wait times should be encouraged due to this. A new age of last-mile delivery appears to be on the horizon, one that is competitive and data-driven.

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Posted by Eli

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