Parcel Locker Adoption: Market Trends and Stats

The smart locker industry has exploded in recent years. Learn how businesses have adopted the technology to understand the opportunity.

Fri Jul 16 07:04:00 EDT 2021
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The global smart parcel locker market is predicted to reach over $1 billion by the end of 2025.

The accelerated growth of ecommerce and an increasing demand for technology-enabled solutions is fueling trends in the locker market across multiple industries. Impacted stakeholders and industries must get ahead of the curve to gain the competitive advantage. Here’s what you need to know.

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Smart parcel lockers to the rescue 

So, what’s driving the smart parcel locker market? In a word: shipping.

The booming ecommerce industry combined with consumer incentives like free shipping drove package shipping volume up by nearly 17% in 2020. While shutdowns may have contributed to this increase, it shows no sign of slowing down. Just ask the mailrooms of the enterprises, government agencies and university campuses scrambling to meet the surge. Or the retailers trying to manage its ripple effects as demand for curbside delivery and Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) soars. Together, these forces are fueling the need for more reliable, secure, technology-enhanced parcel services.

Smart lockers are a simple, modern solution to manage evolving package, mail and asset delivery demands. They increase efficiencies and provide secure, contactless pickup options for recipients. Businesses are embracing the smart locker trend for their specific needs in innovative ways, demonstrating that their uses are unlimited.

See the breakdown of the smart locker market by trend and sector, region and provider.  

Smart locker trends

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it is representative of some of the top smart locker trends contributing to their market growth.

  • Postal lockers: While smart parcel lockers are more commonly thought of for packages, they’re also being used as a safe, secure and convenient way to deliver mail 24/7. USPS rules and restrictions apply so providers with existing ties to the shipping industry are leading this trend. Printing shipping labels and sending packages from a smart locker is a trend on the horizon.
  • Asset lockers: In addition to preventing theft and loss, asset lockers streamline the allocation, distribution and management of assets ranging from laptops to safety equipment. This smart locker trend is increasingly sought after by organizations that need to ensure an end-to-end chain of custody for assets.
  • Retail lockers: Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS) programs help retailers reduce the cost of last-mile shipping by allowing them to leverage in-store inventory. That, as well as contactless delivery and improving the package pickup experience for recipients, are contributing to retail’s adoption of smart parcel lockers. 
  • Modular lockers: When space is at a premium or a workflow is especially complicated, one size doesn’t fit all. Demand is growing in the smart locker market for customizable solutions that accommodate specific volume, space, layout and aesthetic requirements. Scalability is another sought-after feature that modular lockers address.
  • Community lockers: Local communities are adopting the smart locker trend to enhance public services. Smart lockers allow citizens to request important documents like licenses and permits and retrieve them on their own schedule, freeing staff to focus on other critical tasks.  
  • Distribution lockers: The shift to a hybrid workforce creates challenges for companies who need to distribute necessary materials and supplies ad hock. Distribution lockers provide remote workers secure access to the resources they need to keep business moving. 

Sectors adopting smart locker solutions

Some 61% of centralized mailrooms plan to invest in smart parcel lockers in the future. Asset management and retail will account for even more adoption. Here are just a few industries driving the smart locker market.

  • Colleges and universities: Overburdened staff are managing high volumes of packages, heightened service expectations and new health and safety protocols. Smart parcel lockers not only transform campus package and mail delivery, they’re being used to create new services for campus bookstores, libraries and more.
  • Enterprises: Asset management has always been a challenge for employers. Remote work has only increased the pain. As hybrid work environments become the norm, so too will smart parcel lockers as a safe and logical solution for managing IT, equipment and supplies for both remote and onsite workers.
  • Government agencies: In addition to traditional challenges of package and asset management, government agencies require visibility into everything that moves across the organization, including sensitive documents. The ability to integrate existing software for chain of custody and reporting needs is critical to government adoption.

Adoption by region

According to a Fortune Business Insights study, North America is forecasted to hold the highest market share of the smart locker market in the coming years, while Asia Pacific is expected to see the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

The growing popularity of online shopping in North America is compelling ecommerce providers to adopt technology that helps meet the demand and improve the customer experience. Europe’s established logistics networks are securing its second-place position in the smart locker market. Meanwhile, China is leading the Asia Pacific’s CAGR due to its large population and ecommerce giants like Alibaba.

Emerging providers

The global market for smart parcel lockers is undergoing robust competition and innovation. Take, for example, security-focused manufacturers designing smart lockers for law enforcement or refrigeration companies expanding to lockers.

Fittingly, Pitney Bowes has entered the US market with smart parcel lockers made of US steel coupled with its nationwide logistics network and award-winning local service and support team. Other entries to the market are expected to accelerate.

Watch this space

The competitive landscape for smart parcel lockers is coming into focus and it’s a view no relevant industry or stakeholder can afford to ignore. As ecommerce expands across the globe and the demand for technology-enabled convenience rises, it’s time to smart-locker up or get left behind.