China Last Mile Delivery Market - Segmented by Service Type - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

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China Last Mile Delivery Market - Introduction

The booming e-commerce industry in China is witnessing high growth rates. This requires the parallel development of the last mile delivery services driving the growth of the market. The rise of new methods of retailing, such as omni-channel retailing, and technological developments are some of the factors boosting the market growth. Besides these, the increase in the domestic consumption is also driving the market, which accounted for almost 40% of the GDP in 2017.

There exists some inefficiencies in the Chinese last mile delivery logistics. Owing to the fragmented nature of the 3PLs (third party logistics) in China, most of the companies depend on in-house delivery over 3PLs. The amount of deliveries by third party logistics providers accounts for almost 70% of the total deliveries in regions such as Europe and Japan whereas, it stands at 25% in China. These inefficiencies in the market lead to a rise in the last mile delivery costs.

The last mile delivery costs represent almost 30-40% of the supply chain costs. According to certain estimates, delivering vegetables from wholesale markets in suburban Beijing to the retail outlets in the city's new development zone is four times more costly than transporting them from farms in the far more distant Shouguang in Shandong Province. Besides the cost-related challenges, there are also restrictions on trucks entering in cities to regulate traffic and control emissions.

Express Delivery as Mainstay for Last Mile Delivery

With growing internet and smartphone penetration, e-commerce is becoming fundamental, which is the primary driver for the development of last mile delivery market. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, the online retail sales in the country increased by 32% to reach CNY 7.18 trillion in 2017, from CNY 5.43 trillion in 2016. A major part of the growth rate is driven by the rise in the rural online sales. The express delivery companies are the backbone of the Chinese growing e-commerce demands. The sector witnessed a high growth of approximately 25%, generating a revenue of CNY 496 billion and the volume of parcels delivered increased by 28% to 40.1 billion.

The express delivery market of the country is the largest in the world and accounts for almost 40% of the total delivery volume across the globe. The sector also created many jobs; the number of employees increased by 130% between January 2014 and November 2017. Moreover, the country has plans to improve the computerized systems, services, and international connections by 2020, to extend the courier network to generate a revenue of CNY 800 billion.

High Growth in Rural E-commerce is Demanding for more Efficient Last Mile Logistics

The last mile delivery in rural areas is one of the challenges in the market, where the delivery density is comparatively lesser leading to high costs of delivery. The rural and mountain areas account for almost two-thirds of China’s land and the number of rural residents in China stands at 590 million, as of 2016. In 2017, the online retail in rural areas increased by 39% from 2016, reaching CNY 1.24 trillion and accounting for more than 17% of the total online sales. These high growth rates demand for efficient last mile delivery logistics. Therefore, the companies are looking at various solutions, such as drone deliveries, in order to accommodate the growth.

Moreover, the government initiatives to develop the rural areas are also affecting the last mile delivery market. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce allocated CNY 4.14 billion in 2017 to promote online business in 499 poverty-stricken counties, i.e., 60% of the total poor counties across the country. The online sales in the most impoverished counties registered an increase of 52.5% in 2017, to reach CNY 120.79 billion.

Cross-border E-commerce Plays a Significant Role in Boosting the Last Mile Logistics

The demand for buying foreign goods online is growing rapidly in China. In 2017, the imports of e-commerce in China surged by 116.4%, whereas, the exports increased by 41.3% and the overall turnover increased by 80.6%. As of 2016, the Chinese cross-border e-commerce covered 220 countries and regions across the globe. The high growth in the e-commerce imports is also boosting the last mile delivery market in the country.

The online market places are helping the manufacturers across the world to sell directly to the customers by eliminating the retailers in between. In April 2018, Alibaba Group, in collaboration with Thai government, agreed to sell agricultural products (jasmine rice and the most famous variety- durian) in China, increasing the cross-border e-commerce. The Chinese giant has signed a durian deal worth USD 428 million with the Thai government.

Companies Exploring the Self-driving Technology

The rapid development in the technology is expected to disrupt the last mile delivery. Technologies, such as automation, robotics, data analytics, and Internet of Things (IoT), reshape the way the products are catered by the retailers to consumers. The companies are exploring the technology of autonomous delivery vehicles to reduce the last mile delivery costs and to serve the growing demand, especially in rural areas. For instance, in June 2017, held the first trail of delivering by a four wheeled droid that was designed by the company. The droid can travel 20 km when fully charged, carrying five packages at once.

Some of the Key Developments in Last Mile Delivery Market in China

  • June 2018: ZTO Express (Cayman), one of the leading express delivery companies in China announced an investment of USD 168 million in the last mile delivery business of Cainiao Post. The company made the investment in order to upgrade its last mile delivery capabilities and increase its efficiency in meeting the growing demand from retail. Also, the company announced that the investment was done in conjunction with four other leading express delivery companies in China, YTO Express, STO Express, Yunda Express, and Best Inc.
  • June 2018: Cainiao G Plus, a new autonomous last mile delivery vehicle was announced by the Chinese retail giant Alibaba at Alibaba’s Cainiao Network 2018 Global Smart Logistics Summit. These robots can carry weights up to 20 pounds and can be used to deliver parcels, groceries, and food on campus environments and within residential neighborhoods. The robot can run with a speed up to 9.3 miles per hour.

Some of the Key Players in the Last Mile Delivery Market in China

Some of the major players include: SF Express (Group) Co. Ltd, Cainiao Logistics, ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc., Shanghai Yuantong Express Co. Ltd/YTO Express, STO Express Co.Ltd, Best Inc., China Post Express Logistics Co. Ltd/Express Mail Service (EMS), and Deppon Logistics Co. Ltd, among others.

China Last Mile Delivery Market Report Summary




China Last Mile Delivery Market

Study Period

(2014 - 2023)

Market Size in 2017

Provided in the Full Report

Market Size in 2023

Over USD 60 billion

Growth Rate

Provided in the Full Report

Largest Market Share

B2C accounts for a major share of the market

Key Developments

  • ZTO Express (Cayman), one of the leading express delivery companies in China, announced an investment of USD 168 million in the last mile delivery business of Cainiao Post.
  • Cainiao G Plus, a new autonomous last mile delivery vehicle, was announced by the Chinese retail giant Alibaba.

Companies Covered

SF Express (Group) Co. Ltd, Cainiao Logistics, ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc., Shanghai Yuantong Express Co.  Ltd/YTO Express, STO Express Co. Ltd, Best Inc., China Post Express Logistics Co. Lt./Express Mail Service (EMS), Deppon Logistics Co. Ltd and others

Report Offerings

Latest trends in the China Last Mile Delivery Market, along with growth prospects, industry competitiveness, major players, value/supply chain, and forecast up to 2023.


Reasons to Purchase the Report

  • The current and future market outlook in the developed and emerging markets
  • Various perspectives of the market with the help of Porter’s five forces analysis
  • Detailed analysis of the segment that is expected to dominate the market
  • Regions that are expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period
  • The latest developments, market shares, and strategies employed by the major market players
  • 3-month analyst support, along with the Market Estimate sheet in Excel

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1. INTRODUCTION            

            1.1 Scope of the Study          

            1.2 Market Definition

            1.3 Executive Summary         


            2.1 Study Deliverables           

            2.2 Study Assumptions          

            2.3 Analysis Methodology    

            2.4 Research Phases   

3. MARKET INSIGHT                     

            3.1 Current Market Scenario  

            3.2 Technological Trends      

            3.3 Insights on E-commerce Industry

            3.4 Insights on Express Delivery  and Logistics Market including Warehousing, Distribution Centers and Value-added Services     

            3.5 Insights on Return Logistics        

            3.6 Insights on Deliveries during Festive Season (Singles' day)       

            3.7 Insights on Refrigerated Last Mile Delivery       


            4.1 Booming E-commerce and Increasing Domestic Consumption Drive the Market         

            4.2 Lack of Proper 3PL Infrastructure Hampers the Growth of the Market to Some Extent

            4.3 Growing Online Sales in Rural Areas, Increasing Middle Class Population, Rapid Urbanization Present Opportunity   

            *Not Exhaustive        


            5.1 By Service Type  

                        5.1.1 B2B (Business-to-business)

                        5.1.2 B2C (Business-to-consumer)

                        5.1.3 C2C (Customer-to-customer)

6. COMPETITVE LANDSCAPE                 

            6.1 Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Collaborations, and Agreements     

            6.2 Market Concentration Overview 

            6.3 Strategies Adopted by Major Players      


            7.1 SF Express (Group) Co. Ltd       

            7.2 Cainiao Logistics 

            7.3 ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc.       

            7.4 Shanghai Yuantong Express Co.  Ltd/YTO Express       

            7.5 STO Express Co. Ltd      

            7.6 Best Inc.   

            7.7 China Post Express Logistics Co. Ltd/Express Mail Service (EMS)      

            7.8 Deppon Logistics Co. Ltd

            7.9 LF Logistics Co. Ltd       

            7.10 Shanghai Yunda Express (Logistics) Co. Ltd   

            7.11 JD Logistics Inc.

            *List Not Exhaustive 


            8.1 Qingdao Daily Suitable Investment Co. Ltd/RRS Logistics/Gooday Logistics, Suning Holdings Group Co.Ltd./Suning Logistics, New Dada, Lalamove/Easy Mobile Logistics Hong Kong Limited, 58 Suyun/Kuaigou/GoGoVan/Fast Dog Express, ELEME Inc./, Renern Kuaidi/Sichuan Changwu Technology Co. Ltd, Dianwoda, Vipshop Holdings Ltd, Vipshop Logistics*         

            *List Not Exhaustive 

9. APPENDIX           

            9.1 Retail Sector Share of GDP         

            9.2 E-commerce Sales as Share of GDP       

            9.3 E-commerce Sales by Type of Products 

            9.4 Domestic and International Road Freight Transport Statistics   

10. DISCLAIMER                

**Subject to availability on public domain

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