Study on platform-based delivery riders in Paris and in its close suburbs

Context

Platform-based instant delivery is now part of the urban ecosystem in large cities. Developed by companies like Uber Eats and Deliveroo, this activity emerged in 2015-2016. Through a mobile app, independent delivery workers complete deliveries (most often meal deliveries), for digital platforms. These platforms’ business model represents an evolution, that could be referred to as “uberization” and is part of the gig economy. More recently, in addition to meal delivery, large cities have seen the emergence of grocery delivery services, completed by bicycle, in less than 15 minutes. This new type of service, nonetheless, differ from the delivery activity explored here in terms of workers’ status and conditions.

The status and working conditions of delivery riders have been questioned and the difficulties they can face have been explored and highlighted by the media. However, there is few quantitative data allowing to objectively assess the reality of this activity.

That is why Logistics City chair / Gustave Eiffel University explores the issue of platform-based instant delivery since 2016 and is working together on this topic with 6t since 2020. 6t and Logistics City chair / Gustave Eiffel University are working together to produce quantitative and novel data on delivery riders’ profile and practices.

 

Methodology

3 surveys adopting similar methodologies have been conducted in 2020, 2021 and 2022, allowing comparison over time. Note that the 2020 edition of the study was conducted before the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2021 edition when a curfew was enforced in Paris and restaurants were closed, and no restriction was enforced for the 2022 edition. This 2022 study also offers an insight into delivery in Courbevoie, a city located near Paris.

Similar to previous editions, this study is based on a quantitative survey. Delivery riders working for digital platforms were interviewed face-to-face in March 2022. A sample of 500 delivery riders has been interviewed in the north-east area of Paris, and a sample of 166 riders in Courbevoie (a city located near Paris). The 2022 questionnaire is very similar to the previous versions, allowing to identify evolutions over time.

 

Main results

Delivery riders’ profile

Similar to previous surveys, delivery riders are mostly men (99%), unqualified people and only a minority are French. They are very young (average age of 28.5, almost 60% of them are under 30) and a trend towards “younger” delivery riders can be observed compared to previous years.

18% of surveyed delivery riders are students and 29% combine delivery with another professional activity.

38% of surveyed delivery riders are self-employed delivery riders, 10% are cooperators. 13% are members of a union.

Delivery riders’ activity

Only 20% of delivery riders carry out this activity for more than 2 years. However, when compared to previous years, a trend towards an increase in seniority could be observed.

The most common vehicle for deliveries is bicycle, used by almost half of delivery riders (48.5%), followed by mopeds (42.6%). 19% of delivery riders use one of Paris’s shared bicycles Vélib’, mostly electric Vélib’.

More than half of surveyed delivery riders work 6 days a week or more. On average, they work 8:25 hours a day (including waiting time between 2 deliveries), complete 20 deliveries a day and travel 37km. Of course, variations can be observed depending on the profile of delivery riders and the type of vehicle used. More than 80% of delivery riders earn less than 1,500€ per month with this activity, which is less than the minimum hourly wage.

Delivery riders’ opinion

Delivery riders consider their working conditions to be difficult, particularly regarding the risk of accidents, physical difficulty, weather conditions and working hours. The autonomy granted by this activity is nonetheless appreciated.

More than a quarter of delivery riders have already had an accident when completing deliveries. In almost half of cases, this accident required going to the emergency department of the hospital.

Almost half of delivery riders consider that the pandemic has worsened their working conditions, and 36% believe that it has had no impact (only 17% consider that the health crisis has improved their conditions).

All in all, in 2022, delivery riders’ opinion has deteriorated compared to previous years.

A project sheet is available

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