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Stock spotlight: InPost is revolutionising last mile delivery

Pras Jeyanandhan
Pras Jeyanandhan

Fund Manager

Pras Jeyanandhan
Pras Jeyanandhan

Fund Manager

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Parcels lockers: a new urban fixture

We've had three big ideas at Amazon that we've stuck with for 18 years, and they're the reasons we're successful: Put customers first. Invent. And be patient.” - Jeff Bezos.

Amazon revolutionised shopping. With just a click, almost anything could arrive at your doorstep within a day or two. By 2022, online sales in the UK soared to 26.5% of total retail sales, more than double the figure from a decade earlier. But home delivery has its drawbacks—it's costly for retailers, especially with a 15% return rate. These expenses are now hitting customers, complicating the checkout process as delivery costs can make or break a sale. Scheduling a delivery around a busy life and hoping the courier shows up on time is another hassle. Enter a new solution: making parcel pick-up and drop-off as easy as mailing a letter. Leading this shift is InPost, a Polish company rapidly becoming a household name in the UK.

Walk by a train station, supermarket, or petrol garage in any major UK city, and you'll likely spot an InPost locker. With its 7,000th machine just installed, this rapidly expanding network is transforming parcel delivery. In 2023, InPost processed 46.5 million parcels in the UK, doubling its user base to 2.7 million. With growth rates over 100%, InPost is snatching market share from sluggish competitors - and it's just getting started.

Pioneered in Poland; rolling out across Europe

Founded in Poland over 20 years ago, InPost has seen remarkable success. Originally a leaflet distributor, the company launched its first parcel lockers in 1999. Growth took off in 2017, with volumes through its automated parcel machines (APMs) increasing more than tenfold as the network expanded. Now, 61% of Poland's population lives within a 7-minute walk of a machine, and half the country uses InPost.

InPost is now targeting larger European markets, starting with the UK and France. With locker penetration still low at 6% in both countries, there's immense potential for growth.

Source: Retail Economics, Auctane

Customer preferences are shifting. In the UK, where free home delivery is the norm, one in four consumers now choose out-of-home delivery options like lockers, up from less than a fifth in 2021. Lockers offer shoppers the flexibility to pick up orders during their daily routines, while retailers save costs and streamline operations with consolidated deliveries. As e-commerce matures and shifts focus from growth to profitability, parcel lockers are becoming an appealing solution for both consumers and retailers.

Innovative core, unmatched network

Success isn’t just about having lockers. InPost's network density, broad merchant adoption, robust logistics, and cutting-edge technology create a seamless consumer experience. Its capital-light model drives sharp growth, returns, and cash flow year after year. Even with 50% market share in Poland, parcel volumes grew 20% year-on-year in Q1 2024.

InPost is always enhancing its network and services. It recently launched InPost Pay in Poland, an integrated payment solution with 1.6 million users already. This innovation simplifies and speeds up checkout with 2-click payments, boosting basket conversions. The CEO calls it the “company's most important innovation since the first APM.” If true, InPost’s growth journey is just beginning.

“Put customers first, invent, and be patient” – Amazon’s principles are clearly paying off for InPost.

This article was written by Pras Jeyanandhan, Manager of the VT Downing European Unconstrained Income Fund.

Important notice

Risk warnings: Please note that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Capital is at risk. Investments and the income derived from them can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Investments in our funds should be held for the long-term and are higher risk compared to investments solely in larger, more established companies. Opinions expressed represent the views of the fund manager at the time of publication, are subject to change, and should not be interpreted as investment advice.

Important notice:
This content is for information only and does not form part of a direct offer or invitation to purchase, subscribe for or dispose of securities and no reliance should be placed on it. This content contains information that is believed to be accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change without notice. Whilst care has been taken in compiling this content, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by Downing LLP as to its accuracy or completeness, including for external sources (which may have been used) which have not been verified. Downing does not offer investment or tax advice or make recommendations regarding investments. Downing is a trading name of Downing LLP. Downing LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference No. 545025). Registered in England and Wales (No. OC341575). Registered Office: 6th Floor, St Magnus House, 3 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6HD.


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