25 April 20238 minute read

Ask the Expert: 6 Top Driving Trends for Delivery Drivers in 2023

6 Top Delivery Trends with Pete the Courier Driver

It’s no secret that drivers are needed more now than ever in the world of delivery. eCommerce sales will rise to $7 trillion by 2024, bringing a huge rise in demand for drivers to deliver the packages.

This means more work will be available in all different types of delivery. What’s not to like?

That said, there are also a record number of people quitting their day jobs worldwide each month as a part of the Great Resignation so the potential delivery driver pool is only growing. To stay competitive, you need to be on top of the latest driver trends and one step ahead with the latest delivery technology.

So what will be the major driving trends this year that will impact you, as a delivery driver?

Here’s the thing: I’ve noticed that there are a few places talking about delivery trends for businesses and customers, but very few people are talking about what that means for drivers on the ground for 2022 and beyond.

Below you’ll discover what I think the six top driver trends will be, along with what you need to think about to include them in your daily work.

Let’s get to it.

This is part of a series of posts from Pete the Courier Driver with hints and tips for other delivery drivers. If you want to make more money, check out this guide

Driving trends: Icons of a truck, money, a car, a bike, a person waving, and a package

We all love the highstreet. But you’re probably wondering what’s going wrong with shopping in person?.

There actually isn’t much wrong with it. The highstreet is still a great place to grab a coffee, especially considering we’re now out of lockdown.

However, consumer habits are changing. New ways of ordering online are being constantly introduced, such as voice search. And people want more choice than ever before.

Buying a product is no longer as simple as popping into your local corner shop and being happy with the one choice of baked beans on the shelf. We want a selection.

These days, there’s zero doubt that the global Coronavirus pandemic has increased the number of deliveries. Theo Paphitis from Dragon’s Den – and a major UK retail entrepreneur – said recently that Coronavirus has completely changed the way that we shop.

And I agree.

This has caused a slow downward trend with the high street to hasten.

People want a convenient place where you can simply add the products you need and have them arrive the next day. Many now have mobile devices and are simply used to the convenience of shopping on their phones.

In 2022, this all means a continued increase in home deliveries through services like Amazon Flex. This is great for gig drivers as that means more jobs and more money.

Pickup and Drop-off Points (PUDOs)

So what are PUDOs?

That’s a pickup and drop off point. And, just as it sounds, this is somewhere that you can drop your packages off and pick them up.

You’ll find them at local shops, fuel garages, and anywhere people might stop on their way home from work.

The benefit of a PUDO for small retailers is that when the recipient collects their package, they might also pick up a loaf of bread or pint of milk. But how will that help you?

The business wins because new people shop with them, and you win as a delivery driver from only having one place to collect and drop off your packages.

PUDUs are also convenient because finding the address is super easy and most have free car parks for your convenience.

Out of Home (OOHs)

In a similar way, there are now OOHs (out-of-home). They’re the filing cabinets or lockers that you see by fuel stations, underground train stations, and the like.

Picture this: A customer orders something on their way home from work, exit the tube station, find the OOH locker, pay with a card, open a drawer, and grabs their package.

How easy is that?

From a delivery driver point of view, that means rather than having to find many addresses, it’ll just add one stop on your route to drop a number of packages.

The way OOHs work is that you’ll do all your individual home addresses and then you’ll have a tube station address or a fuel station address where you might have 10 drops, and then also pick up a few extra packages.

When it comes down to returns, that means a longer job, longer runs, and more money. And who doesn’t love an extra way to make money?

You’ve probably heard that Amazon is making big move over to sustainability. If you haven’t heard what this is, just think about what you’ve thrown in the trash today.

You likely threw out at least one plastic item that will never fully decompose. Multiply that by the billions of people on Earth every day, and you just start to get a scale of the problem.

Being sustainable means servicing our needs right now without negatively impacting the environmental needs of future generations.

This includes using less oil and gas, and more electric from sustainable resources like solar and wind.

Basically, so that we don’t mess up the future for our kids.

Amazon is going big on sustainability by reducing plastic waste and increasing the number of electric vehicles in their fleet.

This begs the question:

Should you buy an electric delivery vehicle?

Driving trends: A gas pump with an icon of eyes looking at it, and a downward trend graph

When I first started work as a delivery driver, I bought the most economical vehicle I could for the least amount of money. Electric wasn’t an option (unless you bought a milk float!)

Over the years, better electric delivery vehicles have become available.

But, there are a few problems with using electric vehicles for delivery driving. The biggest is range anxiety.

You don’t want to be on the road stressing about how far you can go, or if you have enough juice to get home.

The good news is that Shell have now opened the first single charge petrol station in the UK – meaning that you can’t buy other fuel there. And they are starting to open more.

But we are still years away from single charge petrol stations being a normal thing.

Keep in mind it’s going to take time to charge your electric vehicle, too.

Heck, it takes around eight hours to charge to charge an electric vehicle from empty to full.

In other words, if you’re not able to charge it every time you’re at home for that amount of time, this could quickly cause you a major headache on your route.

So should you buy an electric vehicle?

Well, right now, I won’t be. The cost is very prohibitive and the charging stations aren’t available or fast enough when charging.

This year. I think it’s something the technology will have to catch up with. But it’s absolutely something to keep an eye on for the future.

Having said that, another big issue is going to be the environment. This brings me to my next point.

In 2022, a lot of drivers will be hit by more congestion zone charges.

You’re probably aware of the London Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZs). Now it also has a Low-Emission Zone (LEZ) which captures anything inside the M25’s North Circular.

But no longer are emission zones restricted to the UK’s capital city.

Now Birmingham and Bath have followed suit with Clean Air Zones (CAZs) and we’ve also got proposed new zones for Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, and Bradford in England and Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee in Scotland.

Even if you manage to avoid the tolls for now, this means that it will only be a short while before you will be charged if you’re driving a vehicle that is Euro 5 or below in one of the major UK cities.

What is Euro 5?

Euro 5 is concerned with how old your engine is and how many exhaust particle emissions your vehicle is belching out.

Your engine will be between Euro 1 and 6, where Euro 1 is the worst, and Euro 6 the cleanest.

That means if you’re delivering in these areas all the time and your engine is Euro 5 or Euro 4, you might want to think about upgrading.

The problem with this is the prohibitive cost.

You could end up spending almost twice as much on a second-hand Euro 5 vehicle compared to a Euro 6.

So you’ve got to ask yourself the question; how often am I inside this zone?

Are you running into the same zone several times a day?

The accumulative cost might make the upgrade worth doing in the long-run. If you’re only in there occasionally, then you can pay the zone charge.

How much are the congestion zone charges?

The charges vary according to each zone, vehicle type, and the time of day.

London is around £15 for a van or small truck and about £9 for cars. You will also need to pay a ULEZ charge if your vehicle doesn’t meet the standards.

I can’t tell you the charges yet for Birmingham or Bath as they’re just starting.

Amazon logo with 'thumbs up' icon

Amazon is getting big into food.

They bought Whole Foods in 2017 and are now aiming to open 260 Amazon Fresh Stores in the next three years.

What is Amazon Fresh?

Fresh stores are walk-in. They’re just like normal supermarkets except that you can log in with your palm print, pick the goods off the shelf, put them in a bag, and walk out.

Each product is geotagged, so they know exactly what you bought, and from which shelf.

You can just go grab what you want and leave – because as soon you exit the store, it marries your purchases to you.

In addition to the Fresh Stores, Amazon are also planning Fresh home deliveries, which will mean increased work, increased drivers, and more money to be made.

A combination of which means that multi-drop and gig delivery are on the increase this year.

There will be a continued slow deline in the high street, but people will repurpose and urbanize the spaces. Turning them into residential apartments, theatres, and other recreational areas.

So what does this mean for the future of shopping?

Regional and central distribution centres

All of the major shopping suppliers in the UK are putting money into building regional distribution centers (RDCs) and centralized distribution centers (CDCs).

As a driver, these are the places where you will go to get your packages, and do your multi-drop. But why should you care?

RDCs mean two things, first expanded reach for companies such as Amazon across the country, and second they reduce inefficiency, such as intake, processing and storage.

For us drivers, that all means less time waiting around for the load, and more available jobs to grab.

Knowing what driving trends coming up impacts how you plan your workload, and what you can expect to make, which means it’s crucial to budget planning and your overall delivery success. With a lot of thoughtful organization, you can create a job that works for you.

These are the delivery driving trends that will come true, and you need to be prepared for them:

  • eCommerce deliveries will continue to increase
  • PUDOs and OOHs will appear in more places
  • Sustainability will be increasingly important
  • Environmental impacts will become more evident
  • Amazon Fresh online will mean more work
  • The future of the highstreet will change forever

Here’s the beautiful part, though. Now you have a chance to act on the information before your competition. Make sure you get in ahead of the crowd.

I want to see you not only succeed, but I want you to have a happy worklife balance. Whether you are an independent courier or just starting off with gig delivery, I believe you can.

Whatever you do, take care and take money.

What do you think of the trends above? Do you see any delivery driving trends that few people are talking about?

Optimize your delivery route and get home earlier with Circuit Route Planner. Click here to download now.

About the author

Peter CoathContributor

Pete is a courier driver throughout the U.K. He posts videos about where he has been, what he is delivering, and what he has learnt to help you make money. You can find Pete on YouTube.