Joyce Lam
Joyce is a Trends Analyst at Mintel, focusing on capturing consumer behaviour for the Greater China market, as well as supporting the global Mintel Trends team to identify new consumer trends.
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Mintel Trend ‘Straight to You’ highlights how consumers, today, are expecting products and services to be brought directly to them, wherever they are. Consumers don’t have to physically visit stores to make purchase—all thanks to the digital age. Retailing has been brought into consumers’ homes, and an on-demand culture is beginning to transcend the retail world.

As a result of this, drone deliveries have become popular for companies of late. While drones have become a cool gadget for leisure activities, more and more governments and brands are starting to consider drones for deliveries, surveillance, rescue and medical purposes. Here are a couple of companies who have adopted this approach in Asia Pacific.

JD.com, China

JD.com partnered with a local Chinese government to deliver much-needed medical supplies to a remote cliff-top village by drone in December 2017, shortening a journey that normally takes hours to a speedy 10 minutes. According to reports, China’s ‘first medical drone’ hovered over the village in the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, bringing villagers anti-inflammatory and cold medicines.

It has been reported that JD.com has estimated that the logistics of drone deliveries can save up to 70% on costs compared to delivery services by conventional vehicles, such as cars, vans or motorbikes.

Drones have the potential to revolutionise healthcare, as they enable hospitals and medical service providers to quickly send and receive crucial medical samples and resources. Combined with online medical check-ups, this technology could offer a new form of healthcare services, making them accessible for everyone, anytime and anywhere.

Guzman Y Gomez, Australia

Guzman Y Gomez teamed up with Project Wing to trial deliveries by drone, bringing food to consumers in the Australian Capital Territory who order via the restaurant chain’s app. While still in test mode, the brand stays committed to making drone delivery a reality and reinventing fast food for the 21st century.

Consumers are becoming spoilt for choice when it comes to not only the products available to them, but the speed at which they can be delivered. According to Mintel research, more than one in three metro Australians shop closer to work or home due to a lack of time, while one in four eat lunch at their desk to save time.

Ele.me, China

Ele.me, one of China’s leading food delivery services, already makes more than 10 million food deliveries each day. According to reports, the platform introduced a newly improved fleet of drones during the World Unmanned Systems Conference in Shanghai, China, last year. The drone, named E7, is able to carry up to 6kg of food and fly as far as 20km at a maximum speed of 65km/hr. Drone delivery trials will soon begin in several Chinese cities.

The rise of e-commerce and food delivery services has meant that Chinese consumers have come to expect everything to be delivered to them, anywhere and anytime they want. According to Mintel research on China’s new retail sector, half of Chinese consumers say that they prefer online shopping over in-store shopping because home delivery helps them save time.

What we think

Services that allow consumers to use their ever-decreasing free time more effectively will continue to see interest and success. Brands will also need to ensure they are aware of the needs of their target demographics before embarking into the speedy solution space.

In addition to this, a number of brands have also announced plans to slowly replace their human courier network with other more innovative transport methods, such as drones and self-driving delivery trucks. Such technologies will not only make delivery services more cost- and time-friendly, but will also enable brands to reach more remote areas.