Last-Mile Delivery Trends and Insights for Efficient E-commerce Logistics

Last-Mile Delivery Trends and Insights for Efficient E-commerce Logistics

Picture this: you’ve clicked ‘buy now’, and somewhere out there, a whole chain of events kicks into gear to get that package to your doorstep. Although the entire supply chain requires efficient e-commerce logistics, it’s that last leg of the journey, the so-called ‘last-mile delivery’ that truly needs to run smoothly for your package to get from A to B.

In this little corner of the internet, we’re diving headfirst into last-mile delivery trends and insights.

We’ll see what current trends are rattling the cages of e-commerce fulfillment services, while also peering through the looking glass to discover what the future holds for last-mile delivery optimization, sustainable last-mile solutions, and other emerging trends in the e-commerce fulfillment industry.

Eventually, you’ll see that efficient e-commerce logistics isn’t just about getting your products from A to B – it’s about how these final steps shape everything from your ‘unboxing’ moments to how 3PL (that’s third-party logistics, in case you were wondering) geniuses like Launch Fulfillment, keep the gears turning smoothly behind the scenes. 

So, buckle up and get ready for a rollercoaster ride through the world of last-mile delivery – trust me, it’s more exciting than it sounds!

last-mile delivery trends and insights last-mile distribution graphic

What is Last-mile Delivery?

According to the most recent definition for last-mile delivery trends and insights, we can sum-up last-mile delivery as:

  • The final step in the logistics process where goods are transported from a transportation hub to the final delivery destination.

Over just a short period of time, last-mile delivery has undergone significant and widespread changes.

Here are just a few last-mile delivery trends and insights statistics to wrap your ahead around:

  • Valued at $131.5 billion in 2021, the last-mile delivery market is expected to reach $288.9 billion by 2031. That’s a CAGR of 8.13%! 
  • According to Straits Research, the B2C segment has the largest market share at an estimated $91.7 billion in 2021.

Driven by a surge in e-commerce sales and fulfillment, especially since the pandemic, consumer expectations for faster, more reliable deliveries have skyrocketed.

This shift has spurred a wave of innovation in last-mile delivery strategies, with companies increasingly adopting new technologies and approaches to meet these demands.

One of the key trends shaping the last-mile delivery landscape is the growing preference for same-day or even hour-specific deliveries. This shift has significant implications for 3PL fulfillment companies, pushing them to optimize their operations for speed and efficiency.

efficient e-commerce delivery drone

Last-mile Delivery Optimization Techniques

Last-mile delivery optimization is a multifaceted challenge that requires a strategic blend of technology, logistics expertise, and customer-centric approaches.

One effective strategy is route optimization, which leverages advanced algorithms and real-time data to determine the most efficient delivery paths.

This technique is only made possible by automation and other comprehensive software that not only save time and reduce costs but also minimize the environmental impact of delivery operations.

From this perspective, it’s clear that efficient e-commerce logistics are necessities for both consumers and the planet.

Enhanced Visibility and Communication in Last-Mile Logistics

Another crucial aspect of last-mile delivery optimization is the use of technology to enhance visibility and communication.

Real-time tracking systems enable customers to monitor their deliveries, providing a sense of transparency and control that significantly enhances the delivery experience.

3PL fulfillment companies are also exploring innovative last-mile delivery solutions such as drone deliveries and autonomous vehicles.

While still in the early stages, these technologies hold the potential to revolutionize last-mile logistics, offering faster, more cost-effective, and environmentally friendly delivery options.


There are so many details and variables when it comes to last-mile delivery optimization. Here are 5 of what’s widely considered the key elements of last-mile delivery.

(Credit: Abivin)

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E-Commerce Delivery Trends: Consumers Shape Their Own Expectations

Before the meteoric rise of the e-commerce consumer landscape, it was quite common to expect a package within 5 to 7 business days and that you’d only expect to see it whenever it was “convenient” for the local post to delivery Monday through Friday.

Nowadays, consumers expect it whenever it’s most convenient for their schedules. In other words, they want it ASAP!

More than this, consumers tend to want more options as opposed to simple speed alone. This need for flexibility has led to the emergence of various delivery models, such as:

  • BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-up In-Store)
  • Locker pick-ups
  • Personalized delivery time slots.

These evolving consumer preferences are pushing 3PL fulfillment companies to adapt and innovate. By staying ahead of delivery trends, fulfillment companies can deliver efficient e-commerce logistics with tailored solutions that not only meet but exceed customer expectations.

 

Same-Day Delivery: Statistics and Consumer Demand

The demand for same-day delivery is fueled by an instant-gratification mentality that goes much deeper than we’re willing to believe. While it’s generally tied to a number of factors, 21st century technologies have ushered in a new era for e-commerce fulfillment. 

Recent same-day delivery statistics paint a clear picture:

  • More than 70% of consumers cite free shipping (72%) and convenience (77%) as their primary reasons for shopping online.
  • A study reveals that nearly 41% of shoppers are prepared to pay extra for the luxury of receiving their items that same day.
  • 24% of shoppers said they would pay more to receive their packages within a one or two-hour window of their choosing.

In response to this growing demand, many businesses are partnering with 3PL providers who have the infrastructure and expertise to execute same-day deliveries efficiently.

These partnerships allow e-commerce companies to offer their customers the rapid delivery options they crave, without the logistical headaches that often accompany such services.

last-mile distribution graphic

Innovative Strategies for Last-mile Delivery Insights and Trends

 

The Complexities of Last-mile Distribution

Last-mile distribution is fraught with challenges, from urban congestion to rural delivery inefficiencies.

Each package’s journey from the distribution center to the customer’s doorstep involves a complex web of variables, including:

  • Traffic patterns
  • Delivery windows
  • And, customer availability.

To navigate these challenges, 3PL fulfillment companies are adopting a mix of traditional and innovative approaches.

For urban areas, where traffic and delivery density pose significant hurdles, solutions like localized distribution centers and micro-fulfillment strategies are gaining traction.

These approaches bring products closer to the end consumer, reducing delivery times and costs.

In rural areas, where distance and sparse population density present a different set of challenges, 3PL providers are leveraging data analytics to optimize delivery routes and schedules. By analyzing patterns and predicting demand in these regions, they can plan more efficient delivery routes, ensuring timely and cost-effective service.

Last-mile delivery stats That Drive the 3PL Industry

If you truly want to see the full spectrum of last-mile delivery insights and trends, then you have to look at the numbers.

With the numbers in full view, they tell a compelling story that’s certain to change the way you view the e-commerce fulfillment marketplace.

Here are a few stats that’ll make you sit up and take notice:

  • 72% of online shoppers prioritize convenient delivery time slots over fast delivery
  • 53% of consumers abandoned the purchasing process due to excessively long shipping times?

It’s easy math – last-mile delivery optimization is a huge part of having loyal and quality customers for your e-commerce brand. If the simple things like accurate kitting and assembly or pick and pack services are not up to par, they will easily choose a competitor.

That’s why many e-commerce companies choose a third-party fulfillment provider like Launch Fulfillment to ultimately set them up as key players in their respective industries.


With a dire need to figure out sustainable solutions for the future, last-mile delivery has become a hotbed for new ideas that could revolutionize the future of sustainable delivery. Check out this video to learn more about how the EU is tackling this now!
(Video Credit: Urban Mobility Explained)

automated same-day delivery statistics drone

Last-Mile Delivery Costs and Considerations

One of the major considerations every e-commerce company needs to make it how much last-mile delivery costs will cut into their bottom line.

Even though it’s just one step in the complex supply chain, it is often the most expensive step in the journey.

Therefore, we highly recommend breaking down how much this final step will cost you, which completely depends on who or what you choose to complete this final step of the journey.

Breaking Down Courier Costs per Mile

Now, let’s talk dollars and cents – specifically, the cost per mile.

This is a critical metric for 3PL companies because it directly affects profitability. With rising fuel prices and the ever-present challenge of traffic congestion, keeping these costs in check is a huge part of optimizing last-mile delivery. 

But here’s the cool part: 3PL providers are getting creative to keep these costs down.

They’re doing things like optimizing routes using AI and even experimenting with electric vehicles to reduce fuel costs.

It’s a high-tech, high-stakes game where efficiency and innovation are typically winners.

The last mile is the longest, but it’s also the most important.

-Dr. Murray Craig, Logistics Expert

We know order fulfillment

custom kitting services final thoughts

Conclusion: The Road Ahead for Last-Mile Delivery and 3PL Fulfillment

So, there you have it – a whirlwind tour of last-mile delivery in the 3PL world.

From eye-opening stats to cost-saving strategies, it’s clear that this is an industry that’s always on the move.

As we barrel into 2024 and beyond, one thing’s for sure: the companies that stay ahead of these trends are the ones that’ll lead the pack in the e-commerce race.

Whether it’s drones buzzing through the sky or electric bikes zipping down city streets, the future of last-mile delivery is looking pretty exciting.

And for 3PL providers, the mission is clear: keep innovating, keep optimizing, and most importantly, keep those packages moving.

Here’s to the future of fulfillment – fast, efficient, and always on the move.

Let’s Be Partners.

References

Abivin. “5 Key Metrics for Last-Mile Logistics.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 July 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o2dN3_5Anc.

Asgar, Lida. “6 Stats Highlighting Importance of Last-Mile Delivery in e-Commerce.” FlashBox, 21 Feb. 2023, flashbox.co/blog/business/6-stats-highlighting-importance-of-last-mile-delivery-in-e-commerce/.

Banker, Steve. “The Race for Last Mile Drones.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 18 Aug. 2022, www.forbes.com/sites/stevebanker/2022/08/16/the-race-for-last-mile-drones/?sh=49452532546f.

Barabas, Mallorie. “Last Mile Delivery Costs: The Most Expensive Step in the Supply Chain.” Elite EXTRA, 28 Dec. 2023, eliteextra.com/last-mile-delivery-costs-the-most-expensive-step-in-the-supply-chain/#:~:text=Most%20delivery%20drivers%20pocket%20around,heavy%20packages%2C%20it%20is%20%2450.

Demir, Emrah, et al. “Last Mile Logistics: Research Trends and Needs.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 29 June 2022, doi.org/10.1093/imaman/dpac006.

“Last Mile Statistics 2023: Insights, Innovations & Trends.” Wise Systems, 28 Sept. 2023, www.wisesystems.com/blog/last-mile-statistics-2023-insights-innovations-trends/#:~:text=Valued%20at%20%24131.5%20billion%20in,estimated%20%2491.7%20billion%20in%202021.

Research, Straits. “Last Mile Delivery Market Size, Trends, Report to 2030.” Straits Research, straitsresearch.com/report/last-mile-delivery-market. Accessed 23 Jan. 2024.

Romaine, Ed. “20 Statistics That Show the Importance of Same-Day Delivery.” Conveyco, 25 Sept. 2023, www.conveyco.com/blog/delivery-statistics/.

Urban Mobility Explained. “What Is Last Mile Logistics? | URBAN MOBILITY SIMPLY EXPLAINED.” YouTube, YouTube, 31 Oct. 2023, www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKK_r2UcWDM.

 

 
Jake Tripp

Jake Tripp

Lead Content Strategist

I’m a content strategist and copywriter who specializes in social media and blog content architecture. I help brands nationwide to communicate their values and build loyal audiences.