Companies across Europe are planning to expand their last-mile logistics space to meet the ongoing shift to e-commerce, according to a recent survey by last mile specialist Mileway.
Conducted at the end of January, the survey of 600 businesses across the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Sweden is a follow-up to a similar survey carried out in August 2021.
The latest poll reveals a significant increase in the percentage of companies engaging in e-commerce sales. Almost all the businesses surveyed (98%) said they now sell online, compared to 82% in August 2021. E-commerce was found to be an increasingly important component of business strategy, with 80% saying it is a key driver of revenue, compared to 60% in August 2021.
Over three quarters (77%) of the companies surveyed said they plan to increase the amount of last mile space they rent – either by upsizing, adding locations or both. This is up from 60% in August 2021.
The businesses surveyed range from small, local companies to large, multi-national corporates, and span a variety of industries including retail, consumer goods & services, food production, manufacturing and transport and logistics.
Half of the companies surveyed are Mileway customers. The firm has an owned portfolio in Europe of over 14 million m2 of lettable space and 9,000 customers.
Emmanuel Van der Stichele, CEO of Mileway, said the survey results ‘clearly show that the shift to online has continued over the last 18 months, even as Europe has re-opened following the end of Covid-based restrictions.
‘Not only have we seen a significant increase in the proportion of businesses selling online, even after restrictions ended, but more businesses than ever see e-commerce as a key component of their strategy. This is continuing to drive demand for high-quality, well-located properties near urban hubs.’
Sustainability and improved energy efficiency also emerged as increasingly important areas of focus for businesses, with 91% of those polled saying they are aware of the need to set a carbon emission reduction target, and 42% considering it is a top priority and actively tracked.
Mileway said it is committed to helping its customers transition to a low carbon economy by promoting sustainable operations, increasing the climate resiliency of portfolio properties and working alongside its stakeholders towards a greener last mile.
In Sweden, for example, the firm has partnered with customer Svenska Retursystem (SRS), a provider of smart circular system solutions to the Swedish food industry, to install one of the largest rooftop solar power plants in the country. This will produce 3.3 GWh per year, equivalent to the electricity usage of 600 Swedish households.