A rise in e-commerce activity is spurring demand for last-mile delivery nationwide, and more people are stepping up to fill that need as gig-economy drivers, according to a survey from Delivery Drivers, Inc. (DDI), a human resources firm specializing in last-mile delivery.
DDI connects businesses with independent contractor delivery drivers in retail and restaurant industries and works with companies such as Grubhub and Walmart to help manage driver networks. The company surveyed more than 1,500 delivery drivers earlier this fall and found that more than half are women—an increase over the 30% of women drivers recorded in the firm’s 2014 survey on the same topic. DDI also found that, overall, 63% of respondents have become delivery drivers in the past one to six months, up from 51% in 2014.
“Driving opportunities have quickly become a movement,” Aaron Hageman, DDI owner and CEO said in a statement announcing the findings November 12. “The findings clearly show that Covid-19 has put a spotlight on the critical need that these essential workers play in our lives. Furthermore, the data demonstrates that more women have stepped up to the plate in the last six months in order to ensure we are getting our goods delivered to us safely and efficiently.”
The top reasons all drivers cited for joining the delivery gig economy include the ability to serve their community, have a flexible work schedule, and earn extra money. Many also said they had left the labor force due to the pandemic and turned to driving because they needed a job, especially women. More than 50% of married women in this year’s survey said they had started driving within the last 12 months, compared to less than 49% of married men. The survey tracked a shift in married versus single drivers from 2014 to 2020, with just a quarter of drivers identifying as married six years ago compared to 46% saying so today.
Separately, Hageman pointed to a spike in delivery activity early this fall that is expected to carry through the remainder of the year.
“We see things happening in 2020 sooner than any other year,” he said, noting that the holiday rush began in early October as retailers and others started to promote peak-season deals. “Everyone is busy.”