Demand for distribution centers in close proximity to shoppers is growing as e-commerce continues to fuel consumers’ need for immediacy and convenience. Retailers and e-commerce providers are nearing their final destination as they push to set up shop closer to customers. Most big players have already made it to within less than 10 miles of some of the biggest U.S. cities. But to get closer with last-mile distribution hubs, retailers may have to get creative.
On average, last-mile distribution hubs, which are smaller facilities that allow retailers to stock goods they sell online closer to major population centers, now extend no farther than six to nine miles away from 15 major metropolitan statistical areas, according to a recent study by CBRE.
“Five to 10 years ago, that final touch of a package in a distribution center happened many, many miles from the customer, often in another state. Retailers and shippers previously had many more days, even weeks, to deliver an order,” CBRE Head of Industrial & Logistics Research David Egan said. “That window now is down to a single day, sometimes just a few hours. That’s why that final touch now needs to be only a few miles from most customers.”