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The Last Mile and the Next Day: The changing times and spaces of shopping – implications for energy demand

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

There are many forms of shopping and all have consequences for the movement of goods and people, and for the patterns of energy demand that follow. In bringing different aspects of DEMAND research together we make three key points. First, different modes of shopping affect the practices and energy demands of consumers and of retailers, distributors and producers alike.
Second, patterns of energy and travel demand vary depending on how aspects of shopping are organised in time and space. However, our third point is that different forms of shopping co-exist, overlap and change. Rather than trying to compare the energy demands of physical vs online shopping, as if these were coherent forms, the more important task is to explain escalating expectations of delivery and of what shopping entails. For all forms, what matters is how the ‘last mile’ is organised and why the ‘next day’ is so significant. In developing these points our aim is to inform and promote further research and reflection on the travel and energy demands associated with shopping in all its forms.