Companies across Europe are planning to further boost their last mile space over the next 12 months as they continue to focus on e-commerce, according to a recent survey of 1,400 businesses by Mileway, the largest owner and manager of last mile logistics real estate assets in Europe.

The survey sought the views of a diverse group of businesses who rent commercial property located in the outskirts of large urban areas, in at least one of Mileway’s top five markets of the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Sweden. The businesses surveyed ranged from small local companies to large international corporates, and come from multiple industries including, retail, consumer goods & services, food production, manufacturing, transport, logistics and warehousing. 500 of the 1,400-businesses surveyed are already Mileway customers.

82% of the companies surveyed are already selling to customers online and 60% said they would focus on e-commerce over the next 12 months. Subsequently, 60% of all companies surveyed also said they were looking to increase the amount of last mile space they rent – either by upsizing, adding locations or both. Currently, 40% of the businesses surveyed are renting between two and five properties and one quarter operate internationally.

Among Mileway customers surveyed, the proportion of companies looking to increase their last mile space was even higher, at 74%. 50% say one third to half of their sales are online, and one third of customers say they expect to see their online sales increase by between 30 and 50% during the course of the next year. Three quarters of Mileway customers will make e-commerce a focus over the next 12 months.

“With consumers expecting ever faster delivery times, this means businesses need high-quality, well-located spaces close to the urban communities they serve.”

Emmanuel Van der Stichele, Chief Executive Officer

As a long-term owner of last-mile logistics properties, Mileway regularly identifies opportunities to refurbish or reposition properties across its portfolio, enabling it to meet customers’ evolving needs. For example, in Sweden, Mileway was able to help Svenska Retursystem by developing a BREEAM certified extension of 7,400 sqm, which gave them additional space for their expanding reusable packaging business. Taking steps to make properties more environmentally friendly is becoming increasingly important for businesses. Four fifths of all companies surveyed currently use LED lighting in their properties and 90% say they will use LED lighting in the future.

The findings also show that proximity to customers is a key driver for businesses when looking for more space and that two thirds of businesses now use online tools for their search. Over the last year Mileway has launched local property search portals in each of its major markets where customers can browse available properties.

Emmanuel Van der Stichele, Chief Executive Officer, said: “At Mileway, we work closely with our customers to meet their space requirements, and it’s clear that businesses in Europe – whether large or small – see the switch to online and e-commerce as something that is here to stay, and as an area of growth. This is now impacting property requirements, with 60% of businesses, and 74% of our customers, looking to take more space in the next year to meet the rapidly growing e-commerce demand. With consumers expecting ever faster delivery times, this means businesses need high-quality, well-located spaces close to the urban communities they serve.”