From logistics start-ups to big tech: 3 developments shaping the last-mile playing field

New players are entering last-mile logistics with new ideas and innovative modes of operation, thereby changing the logistics landscape and forcing the established players to adapt. European research project ULaaDS focuses on the challenges ahead.

From logistics start-ups to big tech: 3 developments shaping the last-mile playing field
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

We asked an expert panel of 30+ logistics professionals, policy makers and researchers on the most important trends shaping the future of last-mile delivery. To them, the following developments stand-out:

1.    Big tech enters the scene

Of all types of potential newcomers, big tech companies are most likely to find their way to last-mile delivery and gain market share in years to come. These companies often already have a large customer base. Massive amounts of user data give them a significant competitive advantage over traditional operators: it provides them with detailed knowledge of customer preferences, and the possibility to offer highly tailored services. As such, they are likely to quickly realize significant shipping volumes.

2.    Innovative start-ups disrupt the last-mile with new business models

In 2035, up to 30% of all last-mile parcel deliveries will be done by new logistics operators according to the panel. And many of these will be innovative start-ups disrupting the last-mile with new business models. As a plus, they build these business models with sustainability as the premise, thereby complying with stricter city access restrictions more easily than established players. However, experts warn that significant capital is needed to acquire last-mile market shares. Also, start-ups’ success and appeal makes them likely candidates for acquisitions by establishes players.

3.    Among established players, larger ones are mostly likely to adapt

Of all established logistics operators, large couriers, express and parcel delivery services will best be able to deal with changing market circumstances according to the panel. Their sheer size and handling volume make them powerful players in the last-mile. They are likely to easily acquire smaller newcomers and their innovations. And bigger budgets mean they can more easily make the transition to zero-emission, thereby future proofing their operations.

Interested in reading more about the trends that are likely to shape the future of last-mile logistics? Read our trend report: ‘What’s in store for sustainable last-mile logistics’ here. Or read our previous blogs on the future of last-mile transport and parcel delivery models.


Article originally hosted on LinkedIn here. For information on the European research project ULaaDS, visit ulaads.eu.


Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

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