ACM: parcel delivery market is doing fine, but there is room for improvement


The market for home delivery of parcels is growing. Consumers usually receive their parcels at home, but an expansion of alternative delivery options such as service points or parcel lockers is desirable. These are some of the conclusions of a market study, which was conducted by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), that looked into the delivery market for parcels in the Netherlands. In that study, one particular focus was on the ‘last mile’, which is the final leg in the parcel delivery chain right before the consumer receives their parcel. In that particular market, ACM did not establish any economic concerns.

Various market participants are working on solutions for making last-mile delivery of parcels as efficient as possible. For parcel couriers, it is more efficient if they only have to visit an address once for delivering parcels. That will save costs, and will also help towards sustainability, and towards a reduction of road congestion. Parcel delivery providers think service points and parcel lockers are good alternatives, because parcels will then always be delivered on the first attempt.

Parcel delivery providers seek to have a nationwide network of delivery locations. However, ACM’s analysis shows that the percentage of Dutch households with a delivery location within walking distance lies between 16% and 52%, depending on the parcel delivery provider. ACM believes expansion of the number of delivery locations to be desirable. Such an expansion offers consumers increased freedom of choice. In addition, it also makes parcel delivery more sustainable, as consumers will take their cars less often to pick up their parcels. Parcel delivery providers can also expand their networks by taking advantage of existing initiatives such as platforms for neighborhood pickup points. Additionally, they can also use each other’s drop-off locations. All of these measures could raise the percentage of households with a delivery location within walking distance to 75%.

Despite the fact that they are considered good alternatives, parcel lockers are, at the moment, hardly used by consumers and parcel couriers. One of the reasons is that the concept is still relatively new to consumers. Investment expenditures may act as a barrier to the construction of more parcel lockers. Also, the installation of parcel lockers in neighborhoods is sometimes hampered by differences in municipal policy. More certainty and streamlining where possible will make it easier to offer parcel lockers on a larger scale.

See also

29-05-2020 Market study into last-mile delivery of parcels (in Dutch)