Smart parcel lockers, parcel delivery growth: 2020

Smart parcel lockers uptake spiked in 2020. More and more offices, apartments, and student residences installed parcel lockers as the year wore on. Extreme parcel delivery growth throughout the pandemic and new health measures drove sudden growth. Smart parcel lockers on-premises quickly became critical. “2020 has seen drastic changes in how we interact with the built environment” said Julian Kezelman, Program Director of Realtech X. Before we look to the year ahead, let’s review what the data shows about 2020.  

Smart parcel lockers located in the building

Smart parcel lockers designed to be on-premises are now a critical component of safe, smart buildings. The need for social distancing and working from home in 2020 created new behaviours. One million more people were shopping online by April. Already-high parcel volumes rose dramatically. By Christmas time, parcel volumes exceeded all-time records. 

The increase in parcel volumes also increased the number of visits from couriers throughout the day. This impacted on visitor limits in lobbies and lifts. New Work Health Safety regulations and guidelines for apartments required physical distancing. Buildings found smart parcel lockers helped with a number of related issues. Smart parcel lockers minimise the number of visitors into buildings, eliminate staff contact with contractors, and provide contactless pick-up. They also provide secure, convenient parcel delivery.

Parcel delivery growth strongest in Victoria

Parcel delivery growth has been strongest in Victoria. Data from two of Australia’s large courier companies and the Australian Bureau of Statistics show this. Couriers Please announced high growth nationally in November 2020, with Victoria significantly ahead. Figures from Australia Post throughout the year confirm the same. 

Retail sales during the pandemic were higher than the same time in 2019 as more turned to online shopping. Couriers Please, with a delivery network covering 95 per cent of Australia, reported parcel delivery volumes nationally grew 80% between March and October 2020. The company said growth in Victoria alone was up 150 per cent

Australia Post recorded similar growth throughout the year. In June, Australia Post General Manager Parcel and Express Services, Ben Franzi, said: “A million more people overall [are] shopping online every week.” By August, the company reported 90 per cent growth nationally and Victoria had its biggest week

Victorian’s shopped online in even higher numbers during the state’s second lockdown than from March to May. Victoria’s biggest week was up 161 per cent compared to the same time in 2019. The ABS report showed Victoria led the rise in online retail sales and retail sales generally. Online retail sales accounted for 11 percent of total retail sales in November 2020. 

Parcel delivery boom grew delivery network

The parcel delivery boom pushed delivery companies to grow their networks. Delivery networks were overwhelmed by the volume of parcel deliveries resulting in backlogs. Australia Post was forced for a time to send Victoria’s parcels to NSW for sorting. This created delays in delivering despite an extensive delivery network.

Couriers Please increased their network by 40 per cent for the 2020 holiday period and hired more staff and drivers. The company has opened six new facilities nationwide and invested in technologies “to improve processing capabilities and enhance the delivery experience”.

“We were quick to implement improvements across the business when we experienced the first spike in volumes and forecasted that the growth would continue,” explained Mark McGinley, CouriersPlease CEO. 

Former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate said, “Our growth in parcels from July to September was more than the growth for the entire year just two years ago.”

Australia Post launched their biggest ever recruitment drive last year. The search for 4000-5000 new staff was the largest hiring event in the company’s 211-year history. Three quarters of those recruited were Christmas casual positions. Australia Post also invested heavily in their parcel delivery infrastructure. Further plans for Christmas were to expand its network of vehicles, post offices, and air freighters. Despite all this, deliveries for Christmas 2020 took longer than ever and the effects will be felt along delivery networks for some time. 

Smart parcel lockers needed beyond Christmas

Smart parcel lockers continue to be needed beyond the Christmas shopping craze. Spending online has increased steadily year on year. In 2020, more and more bricks-and-mortar stores established online operations. Australia Post reports 5.5 million Australian households shopped online in November 2020. The Online Shopping industry is forecast to continue growing strongly over the next four years to 2025. 

Growth in online shopping, parcel volumes, and delivery networks are creating a bottle-neck at buildings without parcel lockers. Manual processes when there is no smart parcel locker include double-handling of packages, manual logging of deliveries and stacking parcels anywhere possible. Workspaces and lobbies are then inefficient and hazardous. COVID-safe measures also continue to impact property management, and will for some time. Smart, contactless delivery and collection is the new normal. 

Groundfloor™ smart parcel lockers: contactless delivery and collection

Groundfloor smart parcel lockers have greatly assisted Australian buildings during the pandemic. Groundfloor™ understood the magnitude of the issues related to COVIDsafety and high parcel volumes as specialists in deliveries into the built environment. The benefits of Groundfloor™ parcel locker solutions proved to be more than efficient parcel delivery.

Groundfloor™ allows fast, secure, contactless delivery and collection. Building staff do not need to interact with couriers. Recipients do not need to interact with deliverers. Recipients can collect by scanning a code at the locker and the locker door opens automatically. Locker doors can be closed with a gentle elbow nudge. Any courier can deliver into a Groundfloor™ system.

Groundfloor’s Digital Signature provides an extra layer of safety and security. Each time a delivery is made, the system records a unique Digital Signature. This is accepted in place of a physical signature. It ensures a completely contactless transaction and provides utmost security and traceability of every delivery. On-premises parcel lockers streamline operations, reducing operational costs. Get in touch to find out how we can take care of your parcel deliveries.

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