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E-commerce driving courier boom


box, package, courier, deliveryIn the past five years, the level of interest in the courier pick up and delivery services industry’s standard door to door delivery services has grown, according to a new IbisWorld report.

Retail markets have grown in importance to the industry, which was traditionally focused more on businesses than consumers. Retailers, especially online retailers, rely on industry services to get their goods to customers.

Australians have spent up big on online shopping in the past five years, with online spending in Australia alone increasing at a compound annual rate of 26 per cent, says IbisWorld.

Growing demand for parcel services has supported industry expansion over the period, with compound annual growth of 3.2 per cent, forecast to take revenue to $6.9 billion in 2013-14. This is an increase of 2.2 per cent on 2012-13.

IbisWorld industry analyst, Caroline Finch, says: “with the domestic Retail Trade division’s adoption of online retailing lagging behind overseas markets, much of this growth in demand has come from international e-commerce sites”.

While the trends in demand are clear, the industry is in constant competition with the postal services industry.

According to Finch, “the industry’s ability to remain competitive in providing services to new and emerging markets is a key determinant of industry performance”.

The operations of Australia Post are largely excluded from the industry, with the exception of its subsidiary, Star Track Express. Participants in the courier pick up and delivery services industry are often unable to compete on price due to regulation, which limits them to competing on service.

Increasingly, industry participants are extending this advantage by forging new delivery networks. The increasing adoption of e-commerce platforms by Australian retailers is expected to support industry expansion in the five years through 2018-19.

Compared with international retail industries, the Australian retail sector has been relatively slow to move on online retailing. Demand for transport of international items is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, further supporting industry growth.

Towards the end of the period the penetration of online shopping in the retail landscape is expected to peak, with a tapering of demand from industry markets expected from 2016-17.

Like the broader road freight transport industry, the courier pick up and delivery services industry is highly fragmented and market share concentration remains low. Small players dominate the industry, as the barriers to entry are low.

Despite the relatively small market shares, the major players remain influential within the industry. Sub-contracting of work is common in the industry.

The industry’s major players, Toll and DHL Express, sit at the top of a sub-contracting chain as they often have contracts with large clients.

Greater sophistication of systems and technology is increasing the economies of scale achieved by large operators, creating incentives to merge and expand.

For more information, visit IbisWorld’s Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services report.

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