Record year for parcel shipments
Never before have Germans had so many parcels delivered as in the Corona period. The German Parcel and Express Logistics Association (BIEK) calculates that the volume of shipments rose by double digits for the first time. by Dirk Mewis
The Corona pandemic gave the parcel industry a jump in shipment volume last year. As the German Parcel and Express Logistics Association (BIEK) calculated, a good four billion shipments were transported in 2020 – an increase of 400 million compared to the previous year.
According to the association, the volume marks a new record. In addition, growth was in double digits for the first time in the past 20 years, with an increase of 10.9 percent. Total industry sales also developed similarly, increasing by 10.5 percent to 23.5 billion euros. The companies employed a total of 255,200 people in 2020, 10,600 more than in the previous year.
According to the association, the growth driver was shipments to private households. A trend that is likely to continue in the future: For 2021, a BIEK study on the market for courier, express and parcel service providers forecasts around 320 million more shipments. This would correspond to an increase of around eight percent.
By 2025, annual shipment growth of seven percent to 5.68 billion shipments is expected. By then, 12,000 additional employees per year will be needed – before the pandemic, only 7,000 additional employees per year were expected.
Pandemic pushes parcel shipments
The pandemic has had a “lasting impact” on the market, summed up Marten Bosselmann, Chairman of BIEK. “Faster-than-expected shipment volumes are intensifying the challenges associated with delivery in metropolitan areas and city centers,” he explained. The need for “innovative solutions for urban logistics” will increase, he added.
In the meantime, customers are not only buying new televisions, clothing and books online, but increasingly also everyday goods, such as groceries and drugstore items, as observed by the German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (BEVH). 63 parcels were delivered per household on average in 2020, almost three times as many as ten years ago.
At the peak of the third Corona wave before Easter, 43 percent of respondents in a survey by the Cologne Institute for Retail Research said they now buy things online for which they normally go to the stores. The more the virus spread, the higher the value rose.
83 billion euros flowed into online shopping in 2020, 15 percent more than in the previous year, according to BEVH. According to the report, more older people are also buying online. The parcel services speak of a Herculean task – which they would like to be better remunerated. But the competition is too great for that. The services also fear that food delivery services such as Gorillas or Flink will also enter the parcel business in large cities.
There is “no adequate willingness to pay,” the study says. Revenues are under pressure, averaging 5.81 euros per shipment in 2020, with expensive express and courier goods also factored into the equation. No one wants to pay extra for alternative delivery options like parcel machines, either, it says – especially if you’re at home anyway.
“The fact that people were at home more made it easier,” Bosselmann summed up. Parcel delivery men no longer ring in vain so often – but they are also no longer so quick to get rid of parcels for half the neighborhood at a single apartment door.
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