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Can aftermarket e-commerce emulate last-mile delivery of Amazon?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - 08:00
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E-commerce is making rapid delivery a high priority across multiple verticals, including the aftermarket.

According to the report, “Changing Course: E-Commerce and Its Impact on the Automotive Aftermarket,” from Emerging Market Investors Association (EMIA): “Increasing consolidation among suppliers in the aftermarket industry and the ability to sell directly to customers are intensifying competition with OEMs. Aftermarket suppliers are progressively bypassing regional distribution centers and directly shipping to DIY and DIFM customers. However, this presents many logistical challenges given the need for a huge array of parts and rapid delivery times. Over the past decade, the number of parts per car has increased by over 50 percent to reach 10 thousand. The sheer variety of parts – and the often unpredictable nature of what will be in demand – presents considerable logistical demands for companies developing e-commerce platforms and directly servicing customers.”

E-commerce has spurred a significant growth in these types of delivery services. In North America, the express delivery market is expected to have a CAGR of 5.72 percent through 2021, according to data from HTF Market Report.

The State Post Bureau in China reports that the country’s express delivery services saw a 28 percent increase in the number of parcels delivered between 2016 and 2017, as well as a 24.7 percent increase in revenues. Employment in the sector is up 130 percent, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.

Last-mile delivery – where rapid or express services are frequently in demand – can account for up to 55 percent of total shipment costs, according to research firm IDTechEx. Rapid delivery growth is being driven both by customer demand (having the part fast makes it more likely you can make the sale) and by the popularity of new rapid services like Amazon Prime Now.

The Amazon service relies on local fulfillment and a network of delivery drivers that operate on a model similar to Uber. More than half of U.S. households have a Prime membership through Amazon, which makes them eligible for Prime Now delivery of some goods (depending on which city they live in).

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