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Why Parcel Delivery Businesses Have Boomed in the Pandemic

The COVID19 pandemic has been with us for the better part of a year now, and the way we live and are responding to the limitations and risks it is putting on us are causing many changes to the way we’re going about our daily lives and accomplishing tasks that might have been routine before. One of the ways that our lives have changed the most is simply the ability to leave the home to perform all the tasks we have to – like going to work or buying groceries.

The Surge in Demand

We’ve all been at home for more of this year than likely anytime in our recent memory and that means we’re looking for things to pass the time. Naturally this saw a jump in the uptake of digital subscription services like Netflix, Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus, but the real winner when it comes to business boom can be found in the delivery industry.

The actual surge in the parcel delivery business happened slightly before the pandemic gripped the UK in full force. Earlier this year we experienced some big storms in the UK and that drove a shift from high street sales to delivery and ecommerce solutions. This means that when the pandemic did take hold, delivery businesses were already seeing higher than normal demands, spurred on by bad weather and fear and anxiety around the pandemic and visiting high street stores given the risks involved. All these factors created the perfect storm for food delivery businesses like Deliveroo as well as ecommerce stores big and small to thrive.

Lower Consumer Spending

It’s true that thanks to businesses faring poorly during the pandemic and associated lockdown levels, consumer spending has seen a significant decrease this year, but it has hit each industry differently.

In the United States, for example, you’ll find a significant decrease of up to 90% in the areas of travel and tourism while grocery stores and ecommerce stores saw more than a 50% growth this year. That growth in ecommerce has led to an enormous growth in the business of parcel delivery. It’s led to a severe impact in the turnaround time of deliveries, but consumers have been seen willing to wait for longer deliveries instead of heading out to the high street stores.

There Have Been Increased Costs

Because of the increased awareness of personal hygiene, and the need to provide both customers and staff with personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, face shields and hand sanitizer when they visit brick and mortar locations, the costs of operating these physical locations has shot up.

It’s driven a lot of retail companies to look at ways they can increase the sale of goods without having customers physically visit their locations. With a shift in the way we’re doing business, and a prediction that this shift is going to be at least somewhat permanent, there are more couriers than ever on our roads. Courier insurance has seen a surge in business and comparison websites like Quotezone who can compare policies from the top courier insurance providers have become more important for companies who find themselves increasing their delivery staff.

Innovation in The Space

Innovation amongst retailers globally has seen some innovation taking place in the space, including a stronger focus on delivery services for almost everything. Grocery deliveries have seen enormous spikes in the number of requests and services like Sainsbury’s Chop Chop, Deliverooand Beelivery have seen record spikes in traffic and requests across their services. Consumers are turning to the idea that ordering groceries that can be delivered less than an hour after ordering for a nominal fee is more convenient and safer in the current climate than making the trip to the supermarket, and the surge in delivery business market shares are showing this.

It’s Not All Good News

Food delivery has also experienced its fair share of growth, partly due to the restrictions in place and partly thanks to consumers wanting to stay home and not put themselves at risk by visiting restaurants and take away shops. The bike and car food delivery services are seeing this surge directly and benefiting from it for home deliveries in the evenings and weekends, but the opposite is true for the inner city where the large change to working from home has meant the number of employees ordering lunchtime meals from these services is way down. Some of these delivery drivers have reported income losses of more than 50% from the shift in working patterns. This is starting to recover slowly thanks to the easing of some restrictions and some employees returning to work.

As we reach a level of normality in the chaos that we’ve been living through over the last few months, things like deliveries are becoming more and more part of our new normal, and that’s something that most analysts believe is here to stay long after the threat of COVID subsides.


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