Skip to content

First and Last Mile Connectivity Trends

Trends in First and Last Mile Connectivity: A Regional Perspective

The transportation and urban mobility sectors are witnessing a significant transformation driven by technological advancements, shifting consumer expectations, and a global push toward sustainability. As first and last mile connectivity trends evolve, transit, transportation, and urban mobility leaders must stay ahead to enhance last mile delivery and implement sustainable first mile solutions.

Numerous emerging trends across various regions around the world — from the United States to Africa — are shaping first and last-mile connectivity. Valued at $175.3Bn in 2023, the last-mile delivery market size is projected to grow steadily at a CAGR of over 6% through 2032. 

While approaches vary by region, technological advancements, sustainability initiatives, and innovative solutions are commonly used to address urban mobility challenges. Presently, smart mobility leaders are focusing on the use of advanced analytics and AI to optimize routes, forecast demand, and improve delivery efficiency. These data-driven strategies help streamline operations, lower costs, and meet the growing demand for faster, more reliable delivery services.

TL;DR: Key Takeaways

  • Carrier diversification and sustainability efforts are essential to meet rising consumer demands and regulatory requirements.
  • Technological advancements can help regions with older infrastructures overcome logistical challenges and enhance last mile delivery.
  • E-commerce and social commerce are needed to drive innovation.

LISNR-Ultrasonic Proximity Blog-Trends in First and Last Mile Connectivity A Regional Perspective-1170x400

1. The United States: Embracing Carrier Diversification and Sustainability

The U.S. is experiencing significant shifts in the last mile delivery sector as companies adapt to rising costs and consumer demands for sustainability.

Carrier Diversification

The last mile delivery market is becoming increasingly diverse in the United States. Retailers are exploring alternative delivery options with rising shipping rates from major carriers like UPS and FedEx. The entry of nearly 18,000 new carriers in 2023 reflects a significant shift towards utilizing regional carriers to enhance last mile delivery efficiency and reduce costs.

Sustainability Initiatives

Sustainability is a growing priority for U.S. consumers and businesses alike. Amazon leads the way by integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into their delivery fleets. Amazon’s fleet includes 10,000 electric vans, with plans for nearly 100,000 more. This move addresses consumer demand for eco-friendly delivery options and aligns with potential future regulatory requirements.

2. Europe: Advancing Technology and Sustainability

Europe’s logistics landscape is evolving with a strong focus on regulatory compliance and technological innovation to meet sustainability goals.

PUDO Networks

Europe’s logistics landscape is characterized by a strong regulatory focus on sustainability and efficiency. Pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) networks are revolutionizing delivery systems, particularly in countries like Poland, where PUDO points have reached nearly 40 locations per 10,000 residents. These networks enhance cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability by reducing the need for individual home deliveries.

Real-Time Visibility and Electric Trucks

Real-time visibility technologies are gaining traction in Europe, with over 75% of last mile deliveries expected to offer near-real-time tracking by 2027. This trend boosts operational efficiency and improves customer satisfaction by providing accurate delivery windows and ETAs. Additionally, Europe is pushing for a substantial increase in zero-emission trucks to meet carbon emission targets, with an estimated need for 400,000 electric trucks by 2030.

3. Africa: Overcoming Logistics Challenges with Technology

Africa is making strides in addressing its unique logistical challenges through technological innovation and a growing e-commerce market.

Technological Advancements

Africa’s logistics sector faces high costs and infrastructure challenges. However, strong population growth and increased technology adoption are driving significant improvements. Logistics costs in Africa are three to four times higher than the global average, but innovative solutions like multimodal transit and improved visibility address these challenges.

E-Commerce Growth

E-commerce is rapidly expanding across Africa, with countries like Nigeria and Kenya experiencing substantial growth in retail and logistics. For instance, Nigeria’s retail sector is the third-largest contributor to GDP, while Kenya has seen a 54% increase in store count over the past five years. This growth is fuelling demand for efficient last mile delivery solutions.

4. Asia Pacific: Leading in E-Commerce and Technological Integration

The APAC region is at the forefront of integrating cutting-edge technologies and innovative business models to revolutionize last mile delivery.

Social Commerce and Hyperlocal Delivery

Asia Pacific (APAC) is at the forefront of retail technology and e-commerce growth. Social commerce and hyperlocal delivery are prominent in the region, with platforms like TikTok and Tokopedia in Indonesia leading the way. These partnerships enhance last mile connectivity by merging social media and logistics.

Parcel Volume and Logistics Technology

India and China are key players in the APAC logistics market. India saw an 18% increase in parcel volumes in 2022, while China leads with 111 billion parcels. APAC logistics firms are increasingly adopting asset tracking and shipment monitoring technologies to enhance customer satisfaction and optimize delivery networks.

5. Australia: Meeting Rising Demand with Innovative Solutions

Australia addresses its unique geographical and logistical challenges by adopting advanced technologies and focusing on specialized sectors.

E-Commerce Growth

Australia’s e-commerce sector is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% over the next four years. This growth necessitates more effective logistics solutions, driving demand for third-party logistics (3PL) services. With its significant market share, Australia Post plays a crucial role in rural deliveries.

Healthcare and Sustainable Delivery

The Australian healthcare sector’s growth is boosting demand for specialized 3PL services. Additionally, there is a strong consumer and business demand for sustainable delivery options, prompting innovations such as automated delivery methods like drones and delivery robots.

Continuing the Pace of Regional Adoption

As first and last mile connectivity trends evolve globally, transportation and urban mobility leaders must adapt to these changes to remain competitive. Embracing technological advancements, diversifying delivery networks, and prioritizing sustainability will be key to enhancing last mile delivery and implementing sustainable first mile solutions. 

By staying informed about regional trends and leveraging innovative solutions, companies can meet consumer expectations, reduce costs, and contribute to a more sustainable future.