The 'courier army' is swarming the Beijing streets again...
The 'courier army' is increasingly swarming the Beijing streets again after a few weeks of significant express delivery delays due to many of the couriers being absent, caught by Covid, recovering at home…
The express delivery market in China has grown exponentially in recent years. E-commerce in general but especially social ‘group’ commerce platforms have expanded in recent years from non-food, ‘traditional’ e-commerce items such as skin care or electronics to an express home delivery surge of fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats etc.etc. A consumer expansion boost for many medium and small farmers as well.
From about 6 billion parcels delivered in 2012 and 31 billion units in 2016, the year 2020 saw 83 billion parcels delivered while 2022 exceeded with 100 billion parcels delivered to homes and companies. The Covid pandemic added to the surge when many people were staying at and traditional retail was closed for times in many places.
The development of automation and AI has played significant roles in the expansion and efficiency of the whole express delivery chain. Until 2021, the major competitors such as STO Express, JD Logistics and Yunda Express were entangled in a fierce price war which saw huge losses. Especially when Indonesian express delivery giant J&T Express entered the market in 2020.
Government has since intervened issuing price regulations and the market seems more healthy at the moment. Also a significant change in the express delivery market since 2-3 years have been the installation of residence community delivery stations where couriers can put the parcels and people can pick them up after coming home from work.
The post stations are modern lockers, sometimes even equipped with face recognition technology. The locker stations are hyper-localized inside residence communities or corporate buildings. The stations save the couriers for the last 100 meters to the specific house or office door, often the most time consuming… and with many stairs.