These figures are despite of last-minute restrictions placed on holiday gatherings in large areas of the UK. This appeared to have caused some consumers to hold back on their spending over the last two weeks leading up to Christmas, buying less traditionally festive foods such as steak, which saw sales up 57% during that fortnight, perhaps as a last-ditch alternative to Christmas dinner. Meanwhile, sales of confectionary rose just 2%, reflecting fewer occasions for socialising and gifting this year than in previous years.Will autonomous vehicles revolutionise last mile delivery for ecommerce?
By Nikki Gilliland January 7th 2022
From logistics to sales and marketing, automation has the ability to transform ecommerce.
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And although tech companies such as Ocado Solutions have been pioneers of automation, last-mile delivery is still one area yet to be disrupted. Could autonomous vehicles be the next innovation in the industry?
According to a 2021 report from Verified Market Research, the global autonomous delivery market is fairly modest, at $24m in 2019, but is growing and predicted to reach $237m by 2027. Drivers of this market include increased urbanisation (and the need to reduce emissions), wider digitisation spurred on by Covid, and the continued shift to ecommerce – coupled with demand for super-fast, local delivery.
Autonomous vehicles generated investment in 2021
The latter months of 2021 saw a wave of investment in the autonomous vehicle space, particularly from prominent UK and US retailers. In October, Ocado announced that it had invested £10m in self-driving tech startup Wayve in order to develop autonomous vehicles for grocery delivery. Ocado is set to test Wayve’s technology as part of a trial using Ocado delivery vans in London, while some of Ocado’s delivery fleet will also include data collection devices to help train Wayve’s system on the complexities of driving on the road.