Christmas is just weeks away…
And shopping this holiday season and for millions around the world has changed forever.
Ecommerce business has surpassed storefronts in nearly every industry.
That has certain consequences for other parts of our lives. Instead of dealing with plastic bags or remembering to bring reusable ones with you, now you likely have a constant inflow of Amazon boxes to take to the curb.
But COVID hasn’t only affected how many packages we have coming for delivery. It has changed how many people are receiving those packages.
Companies like DoorDash have “contactless drop-offs” now, where the delivery person simply sets your food down at your door and leaves.
There is an obvious end place for all these developments. And that’s parcel drop boxes.
In large apartment buildings, this is already a very common way to handle the hundreds of packages tenants receive throughout a week. Large automated self-service lockers in building lobbies that UPS, FedEx and others can use to simply drop off packages to everyone in the building at once.
This is, on the surface, a relatively straightforward thing. But in the time of COVID and an ecommerce boom, this kind of simple idea can be worth billions.
A Follow Up to Poland’s Largest-Ever IPO
I’ve covered this before. But what we’re seeing in new U.S. cases on a per capita level is nothing compared to Europe right now.
In Poland, for instance, this chart shows just how scary it is right now:
Ecommerce, as a consequence, is even more crucial there.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that an ecommerce company, Allegro.eu SA, just broke the country’s record for completing the largest IPO of all time in September.
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But as I noted, simply buying online is only a part of the new normal. How companies handle the delivery of those packages is changing.
That’s why Advent International, a U.S. private equity firm, is set to put its self-serving parcel locker company, InPost, up for an IPO in early 2021.
InPost has more than 8,000 lockers in Poland alone and looking to continue growing. No solid numbers are being reported. But Advent is looking to make billions of euros on this IPO.
Of course, Poland isn’t the only place where the ecommerce boom and this second COVID wave are happening. And InPost isn’t the only name in this game.
Quadient SA (OTC: NPACY), (PAR: QDT.PA) is another Europe-based package company. It specializes in logistics and package building from the sender side.
But it also owns the large Parcel Pending brand self-serving package lockers now flooding countries all over the world. It’s not uncommon to see this brand here in the U.S.
I know it sounds strange. But this is a booming industry. These lockers are going up all over the world. And it’s not just apartment buildings.
They are popping up inside of stores like 7-11 and Walmart. And they are conveniently 24/7, which means no more missed deliveries.
Quadient’s other businesses handle the logistics and digital tracking side of deliveries, including locker use and data reporting.
Now, I’m not saying Quadient is a great buy here. First, it is difficult to get into unless you have access to stocks traded in Paris. Its over-the-counter shares barely trade each day. But this idea is growing.
With InPost’s multi-billion-euro IPO coming early next year, investors will start paying attention.
While a seemingly very niche industry, it is one that is booming in this strange time. And it’s one worth playing as it emerges alongside ecommerce, here and around the world.