There has been a crazy growth in peer-to-peer shipping businesses in the past two years. These companies facilitate travelers earning some money by carrying stuff in their luggage (or car) to delivery to someone at their destination. It’s a good idea as it can drastically cut the cost of transporting goods, especially globally. There are a number of variations on this theme, including companies that focus on just overland deliveries within one country, a few that only facilitate deliveries between two specific countries (i.e. from the United States to Egypt), some that deal with delivering online purchases and others focused on delivering personal items.
At the end of 2016 I had 84 social shipping businesses listed in my spreadsheet (sub-category = delivery). I’m pretty confident none of them are actually making money, and there really isn’t a dominant player, although a few within-country overland delivery businesses are dominating their local markets. Out of these 84 companies, I found 8 that stopped operating in 2016. Six of those were doing overland shipping within one country, so perhaps that is the more difficult business model. With so many global crowdsourced delivery businesses it seems inevitable that there will be more attrition and consolidation in the coming year. Social shipping requires volume of users in order to successfully match people traveling with people needing deliveries so I think in the end businesses will only be profitable in this market if they can gain a big share of whatever market they are targeting.
Here’s the list of obituaries for 2016:
Sidebox focused on overland shipping in France – using spare space in people’s cars. They launched in 2015.
Yoninti was also social shipping within France, and as far as I know they never got past the pre-launch stage.
Telollevo offered overland crowdsourced delivery in Mexico. They launched in 2015.
Tote was an Atlanta, Georgia focused peer to peer shipping company leveraging trucks that were already on the road. After two years in operation they closed down at the end of 2015, but their website announces a to plan a relaunch at the end of January 2017 so it will be interesting to see what they do next.
Ride Ship offered overland deliveries within the U.S., with the option to also share rides. They launched in 2013.
The only globally focused crowdsourced delivery companies that failed in 2016 are Shippa and Swiftly. They both had just launched in 2016, providing a platform for people to carry stuff in the spare space in their luggage.