Parcel lockers, autonomous containers that can be used to either receive or send a parcel, are among the several popular alternative solutions customers can select to manage their online shopping deliveries or dispatches. For logistics companies, investment in parcel lockers can reduce costs in the logistics chain, increased delivery efficiency and generate new market opportunities.
The 2017 IPC cross-border e-commerce shopper survey looked into the delivery preferences and experiences of over 28,892 frequent cross-border online shoppers across 31 countries. Seventy-four percent of consumers used delivery ‘at home’ in 2017, slightly lower than in previous year. There were some large differences by country, notably:
- Delivery to a Post Office was highest in Russia (76%), Iceland (67%), Cyprus (65%), Finland (50%) and Greece (44%)
- A postal service point was used most commonly used in Norway (71%), Sweden (70%), Finland (65%) and Denmark (50%)
- An office / workplace was most commonly used as a delivery location in China (44%) and India (41%)
- A courier’s parcel shop was most commonly used in France (54%)
- Parcel lockers were most popular in Finland (43%), Denmark (41%) and China (33%)
When looking at the types of products bought cross-border, the three most popular categories - Clothing, footwear and apparel (30%), Consumer electronics (19%) and Health & beauty (14%) – would mostly fit in a parcel locker. However, the infrastructure and integration of logistics systems need to be improved to allow for a seamless cross-border delivery to a parcel locker.
Overall, the preference for parcel locker delivery grew 1% compared to the 2015 results and was preferred on the same level as delivery to retail outlet in 2016. When looking at the categories of products bought cross-border, the most popular items - such as Clothing, footwear and apparel (33%), Consumer electronics (21%) and Books, music and media (14%) - fit in a parcel locker, however the infrastructure and integration of logistics systems need to be improved to allow for a seamless cross-border delivery to a parcel locker.
In this article, we present an updated overview of the parcel locker market development by key players, both postal operators and other entrants.
Source: Postal operators data, Euromonitor
Australia Post launched their parcel locker system in 2014 together with MyPost Deliveries, a service that gives customers choice over exactly where their parcels get delivered. By registering for MyPost account, customers can choose their closest or most convenient delivery point, whether to their home, a post office close to work or a Parcel Locker, with the flexibility to change it every time they shop. Currently there are around 200 parcel locker stations provided in partnership with InPost – the details of the partnership deal are not public.
The roll-out of the French Pickup Station lockers began in 2014, and at the end of 2015, 200 Pickup Stations were operational in France in busy areas of the five largest cities in France (Paris and the Paris region, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, etc.). New locations (tramway stations, post offices, universities, hospitals, large retail stores) are currently being tested. The self-service parcel terminals, supplied by Austrian firm KEBA, can handle 40-100 parcels/day.
The number of Pickup Stations is scheduled for major expansion in 2016 with an increase to around 1,000 locations across France in cooperation with technology partner Packcity, a joint venture with Neopost. Around 6,500 e-retailers in France now offer parcel delivery through Chronopost or Colissimo to a Pickup Station.
In late 2017, the Portuguese postal operator has introduced 5 parcel lockers in Lisbon for a one year trial – these lockers are provided by a Spanish company which owns them and collects a fee for every delivery made to it.
Correos launched the ‘CityPaq’ parcel terminals in late 2014, with plans to install up to 60 terminals, supplied by Austria’s KEBA, during 2015. By early 2018, Correos reported having over 3,000 parcel locker terminals.
In a pilot project with the Spanish rail operator Renfe, CityPaq self-service parcel lockers were installed in nine local stations in Barcelona and Madrid. The machines, accessible during train station opening hours, have up to 80 compartments of different sizes.
cep-research.com, IPC analysis
Since the launch in 2001, Deutsche Post DHL has installed around 2,750 parcel lockers (packstations) provided by the Austrian manufacturer, KEBA nation-wide. Packstations achieved national coverage by 2010 (approximately 90% of the German population is able to access a Packstation within ten minutes of their home). Since 2009, the number of large corporations locating packstations at their offices has grown, increasing accessibility and convenience for employees. Prior registration for receiving parcels at Packstations is required and includes membership in a loyalty programme.
When purchasing online, consumers insert the shipping address of their chosen Packstation. Upon delivery of the parcel at the locker, consumers receive an e-mail or an SMS notification. In order to retrieve parcels, consumers require their smart card (provided upon registration) and pin (sent with the notification).
The lockers are generally located in high footfall areas, however the company has installed units in larger companies for their employees to have flexible access to online. In April 2015, Deutsche Post DHL announced it was partnering with Germany’s housing company, Deutsche Annington, to install parcel boxes in its apartment blocks. The boxes are free of charge and can be accessed via an RFID chip or hand scanner.Using parcel systems from KEBA, Deutsche Post DHL has also expanded in other countries with 250-300 lockers planned in retail stores in Finland and around 25 lockers in Vienna, Austria. At the same time, using the same system provider KEBA, Austria Post is developing its own parcel locker network.
In May 2016, HongKong Post introduced its parcel locker systems in six locations across the territory, with three of them open 24/7. The lockers are applicable for the following mail types: Local Ordinary Mail (Packets only), International Ordinary Mail (Packets only), Local Parcel, International Parcel, Smart Post Mail Delivery Service (Packets only), EMS.
Upon receipt of an SMS notification, the delivery is available for collection for four days. If not collected within this time period, it will be transferred to the nearby post office for counter collection.
According to the 2015 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper US study, more than half of avid online shoppers, who make two or more online purchases in a typical three-month time period, are interested in an alternate delivery location with extended hours. Preference for alternate delivery locations grew nine points (to 35%) in the last two years according to the UPS study.
To respond to this trend, UPS announced in June 2016 that it would expand its smart locker programme from nine locations in Chicago to 300 locations nationwide. The UPS Access Point lockers are alternate delivery locations that are usually outside and accessible 24 hours a day at convenience stores and other locations. Online retailers can integrate the locker delivery addresses into their web checkout process to give ‘e-commerce stranded’ consumers, who live in a residence where front-door delivery is not possible, a nearby delivery location.
UPS is working with 7-Eleven and independently owned and operated retailers to offer the locker programme in select areas across the US. The rollout began in June 2016 and initially will be available in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington State. Subsequent states are planned to include California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Texas.Competing parcel delivery operators have entered the parcel lockers market as well. In July 2016, FedEx offered 82 parcel lockers in two states: 80 in Texas and two in Tennessee. Number of Amazon lockers across the US is not shared by the company, however, based on data per key locations – Los Angeles (19), Manhattan New York (20), San Francisco (20), Seattle (13) Washington (20), Amazon has already a significant presence in this delivery choice option.
Gopost is the parcel locker system by the USPS introduced in a trial phase in 2012. The service is currently in the “test” phase according to the Gopost factsheet from the USPS. Gopost units are being installed near certain Post Office locations, grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation hubs, shopping centres and other convenient locations. The units are located outdoors and are accessible 24/7.
Each Gopost unit contains dozens of individual lockers that can be used to receive or ship packages. Once a customer registers at gopost.com, they will receive an account number/access card and PIN so they can access the unit. Packages are placed in available lockers that may accommodate the size of your package. Gopost locker units can be used both for receiving and shipping packages.
A domestic package will be returned to the sender after 15 days. International packages will be removed from the unit after 15 days and taken to a nearby Post Office. After 15 days at the Post Office, the package will be returned to sender. International shipments requiring customs fees are currently not accepted.
USPS package mail classes allowed in the Gopost service include: any Priority Mail® or Priority Mail Express mail piece; other package types that are at least ¾" (1.9cm) thick. The Gopost units also accept shipping packages with return labels. There are three locker sizes at each gopost unit to accommodate various sizes of packages with the largest locker being 12" (30.48cm) x 15" (38.1cm) x 18½" (46.99cm).
There are over 600 Amazon Lockers in the UK with locations ranging from Shopping Centers, Business Parks, Petrol Stations and Convenience Stores to Transport Hubs, Universities and Corporate HQ's. Amazon Locker offers daily deliveries, seven days a week, which can be tailored to the opening hours of the location if required.
In France, self-service parcel terminals have been installed at various hypermarkets in recent months and the company plans to install 500 lockers across the country “very quickly”, including 64 at Auchan stores by the end of June.
Amazon is actively looking at introducing parcel lockers in Germany in competition to DHL’s Packstations and following their launch in the UK and France. Amazon is already testing lockers for staff at its offices and logistics centres across the country. Munich and Berlin, where the company now has its own delivery operations, could be the first two cities where the self-service parcel terminal would be trialled.
InPost is an independent postal services provider in Poland which offers secure electronic parcel services via its Paczkomaty facilities. Each parcel station has 76 locker boxes in three sizes, accessible 24 hours, 7 days a week. Users must register in order to access the parcel locker service. Consumers can select a Paczkomaty delivery from selected e-retailers with parcels ready for collection within 48 hours. SMS notification is provided including a delivery code, which together with the user’s mobile number is required for collection.
Additional services include insurance and pay on delivery service. Registered users can also send parcels to registered receivers from a locker facility. Proof of posting and scanning barcode facilities are available to track and trace parcels. InPost now has its parcel terminals in ten different countries – Australia, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Russia and Spain. The company has investment from Pinebridge Investments to help fund its EUR 300m plans to install 16,000 parcel terminals in Europe by 2016.
InPost’s UK network of parcel lockers is now over 1,000 lockers. All of InPost's lockers are located at a variety of safe and secure locations including Morrisons supermarkets, Esso petrol stations and transport for London sites as well as outside retailers such as Toys R Us. The UK network is open to all operators and is currently offered as delivery option by UK Mail, DX, DHL Express and APC Overnight. Thanks to investments in refining its technology, InPost UK reduced the access procedure time to seven seconds.
InPost France makes provision for the deployment of 900 'Abricolis' lockers at Leclerc's outlets, including 400 by the end of 2016. Leclerc has several e-Commerce sites including those for over-the-counter drugs, wine, sports gear, electronic appliances and spectacles.
InPost’s plans to have around 2,000 lockers in service nation-wide by 2018. InPost will also complement the well-developed and proven network of Points Relais created by Mondial Relay, with a strong territorial network by providing a thousand of automated lockers by the end of 2016. They will rival networks used by Amazon, DPD, DHL and other parcel carriers.Mondial Relay will use InPost’s expanding French network, which is timetabled to reach 1,000 locations by the end of this year, as an additional delivery option alongside its 5,300 Point Relais parcel points. In 2015, InPost also signed a deal to set up lockers at Total petrol stations.
InPost’s lockers have also been installed by postal operators in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Chile, Italy, Ireland, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Estonia, Russia, Cyprus, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and also Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Malaysia.
Founded in 1968 and based in Linz, Austria, KEBA is one of the global market leaders in automated solutions for parcel pick-up and drop-off with more than 5,000 lockers sold. KEBA is also the largest supplier of electronic secure lockers to the postal industry, largely due to the deployment of around 3,000 parcel lockers for Deutsche Post DHL initiated back in 2001. Its KePol designs include compartment system and rotation systems, incorporating service solutions tailored to individual postal companies. KEBA also provides support services such as IT-operations, a hotline, rollout management, customer service and replacement parts logistics. KePol by KEBA provides its packstations to countries like Lithuania, Luxembourg, Germany, UAE, Russia, Denmark, Austria and Turkey.
There are two different hardware types of KEBA lockers, KePol FS for outdoors and KePol LS specially designed for indoors. KEBA offers its logistic solution in four packages:
- KePol@Lab – 1 locker/ 6 months
- KePol@Pilot – 10 lockers/ 9 months
- KePol@KEBA – 300 lockers/ unlimited
- KePol@Customer – unlimited no. of lockers and time period
KEBA has identified and developed essential interfaces that enable external systems to easily interact with the KePol solution. These interfaces allow bi-directional transfer of data for external systems to react to events of the system or to provide KePol with data.
Under the Interconnect Programme, IPC leads the Delivery Choice Project which covers the topic of Delivery locations/services for international traffic offered by all countries within the Interconnect programme.
The goal of this project is to enable e-retailers/e-sellers to offer their customers a full range of locations where to receive/collect their items so e-shoppers can determine where and when to collect their purchases, as opposed to the default postal delivery.
The array of delivery options offered by each e-seller depends on each post’s domestic offer and capabilities, as one of the principles is to align the inbound post’s domestic offer with their international offer.
Parcel lockers as a delivery option are part of a bigger picture under the umbrella of the Delivery Choice Project within Interconnect as many other options/services are offered by different posts (e.g. Post office delivery, Shop delivery, hold the item, re-direct the item etc.).
So far, parcel lockers have been identified within the Delivery Choice working group as delivery option offered by a minority of countries when compared to post offices or postal Shops/Outlets. However, it is acknowledged that they might grow in popularity as e-shoppers gain more confidence on this new way to receive their items and more posts start offering parcel lockers in their portfolio to gain competitive advantage.
In order to support posts, e-sellers and e-shoppers on the selection of delivery options at destination, IPC has developed a tool (translation engine) that allows users to access delivery points at destination.
For questions or comments about the Delivery Choice Project, please contact Carlos Setien at firstname.lastname@example.org