The next decade will be a golden age for China’s instant delivery sector, whose market size is expected to hit about 250 billion yuan in 2020, according to Wan Ying, secretary-general of the E-commerce Logistics and Express Branch of the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.
Unlike the traditional express delivery mode, most instant delivery orders are made up of intra-city delivery services, with delivery time calculated by the minute.
In addition to bellwethers including Meitian and Dada Express, more Chinese behemoths such as China’s leading ride-hailing giant Didi, home appliance giant Gome and courier giant ZTO Express have also been exploring similar services. The sector is expected to grow by 20 and 30 percent this year, according to experts.
The number of instant delivery users in the country has exceeded 400 million, with orders expanding from food to more products. According to statistics, orders of fresh food soared 104.8 percent year on year in the first quarter, and orders for cakes, fresh flowers and medicines also grew significantly.
Alibaba’s offline fresh food supermarket chain Hema saw its online orders surge by about 300 percent year on year, said Zhang Xinyu, the company’s director of public relations.
Du Shangbiao, vice president of China’s local courier service platform iShansong, said that the company’s orders rocketed 300 percent in the past three years, with an average of 600,000 orders every day.
However, the sector also faces challenges, such as imbalance between supply and demand during peak hours and time pressure for couriers. As couriers need to complete tasks within a limited time, they sometimes run red lights or drive against the flow of traffic, which can easily lead to traffic accidents.
Experts suggested that delivery companies arrange a reasonable delivery time for couriers, while government departments should make greater efforts to bring more order into the sector.