Development of the Parcel Machines Market for Last Mile Deliveries – The Case of Poland
Purpose: The main objective of this study is to determine the specificity and state of the parcel machines market in Poland, taking into account its entity structure, location issues and problems of their environmental impact in the context of the challenges created by e-commerce last mile deliveries, as well as the possibilities and potential directions of its further development. Design/Methodology/Approach: To achieve the main objective of the article, mainly secondary sources of information were used. Literature on last mile logistics, city logistics and e-commerce was analysed. In addition, statistical data of the Statistics Poland and annual reports of the Office of Electronic Communications were utilised in the study. An in-depth analysis of a number of reports of national and international institutions, consulting companies and opinions of experts in the field of e-commerce and logistics real estate market was also carried out. The author studied national legal acts, as well as local regulations concerning guidelines for parcel machines located in cities, and source information of operators developing networks of these devices. Findings: The results of the research indicate that the market for parcel machines in Poland is developing dynamically and, against the background of European markets, occupies one of the leading positions. This fact has favourable implications for last mile deliveries involving these machines. There are currently several operators on the parcel machines market, which come from different business spheres, these are mainly Logistics Service Providers and entities running large e-commerce sales platforms. This makes it quite convenient for customers to make their delivery choices to the parcel machine as part of their e-commerce purchases - as a large share of the population (mainly city dwellers) has good access to the nearest device. The use of parcel machines in last-mile logistics, compared to traditional courier deliveries, contributes to reducing negative externalities. One parcel delivered in this way leads to significantly lower CO2 emissions and less fuel consumption. Practical Implications: The analysis of secondary sources allowed for the identification of practical implications concerning selected aspects of the parcel machines market in Poland. The need for further development is noted, especially the location of this type of equipment outside the largest cities. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that customers show interest in dedicated, specialised machines for specific product groups. In view of the negative externalities that occur due to the location of parcel machines near housing estates, further efforts should be made to reduce the resulting nuisance for residents, such as the covering of machines with plants already used by some operators and, in the context of wider effects, powering them with renewable energy. Originality/Value: This article attempts to determine the specificity and state of the parcel machines market in Poland. This approach, which has the character of a specific case study of Polish market conditions, is intended to help enrich the literature on the subject with theoretical and utilitarian aspects. In view of the fact that the development of the parcel machines network has been extremely dynamic recently, it is crucial to constantly notice the trends occurring within this process, to draw people's attention to them, especially in a context as important as last mile deliveries, which affect the majority of the population. This is where changes in the purchasing behaviour of individuals, due to the scale on which online purchases are now made, can contribute effectively to sustainability of the last mile section within e-commerce logistics.