Are Home Deliveries Increasing during the Pandemic?

Sorin Garber 5/31/2020


With so many commercial establishments closed and many of us not leaving our homes, we know that some types of deliveries have increased by necessity, particularly for delivery of groceries and from restaurants.  In contrast to this, those individuals who have lost jobs or otherwise fear for their financial livelihoods, may be making fewer purchases in general, including those by on-line delivery.  Moreover, with the pandemic being such a unique and recent phenomenon, it is challenging to find comparative data to help us understand trends that could possibly guide us and support measures we might consider helping us through this crisis.  Finally, such data could help us analyze how our economic lives might change after several months – or more – of stay-at-home, school and office closures, and other pandemic conditions.

While much of the data to track any trends are not yet uniform or consistent enough to suggest certain patterns, there is some data that is released on a quarterly and monthly basis that provide a sense of the growth.  For example:


In Portland,  there is corresponding data about the supply chain associated with e-commerce. For example:

  • Available industrial space – which has become increasingly less available with the growth of e-commerce over the past 10 years - dropped by 1.3% and industrial space rents jumped by 21% between the first quarter of 2019 and 2020 (Colliers International).

  • Portland region truck driver employment decreased by 17%, while warehouse jobs nearly doubled, and courier and messenger jobs jumped by 46% between 2005 and 2019, further evidence of the increased number of smaller shipments requiring quick delivery directly to consumers.  Statewide truck transportation jobs decreased by less than 1% during the same period, but warehouse and courier and messenger jobs showed the kinds of significant increases shown in the Portland region (Oregon Employment Department).


I’m going to continue tracking data e-commerce sales, employment by type of delivery worker, vacancy rates for industrial/warehouse space, and sales by retail category., and publishing them on both my web site ( and LinkedIn site

These and other data were previously analyzed in a study I prepared - E-Commerce and Emerging Logistics Technology - for the City of Portland, which also describes strategies employed by shippers and carriers throughout the U.S. and around the world to meet the fast-growing volume of ecommerce deliveries, and recommendations for how cities can work with industry to help manage the delivery traffic. 


There is a wide range of data about ecommerce sales behaviors during the pandemic such as ecommerce sales by age group, ecommerce sales by commodity, ecommerce sales by company, and more.  Unfortunately, there is not much data yet on which transport type (truck, van, car, bike, foot) are being utilized during the pandemic.

If you’re interested in learning more about these and other trends, please contact me at  


SGA recently recertified as an Emerging Small Business with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ESB 10953)


NEW CONTRACTS  |  2019-2020

SGA is now under contract as Prime Consultant with the following agencies:

  • Washington State Department of Transportation

    • Transportation Studies Services

    • Rail, Freight, and Ports - Engineering, Operations, and Planning Services

  • Portland Bureau of Transportation

    • Transportation Planning Services

  • Metro

    • Project Management

  • TriMet

    • Project Management

CONGRATULATIONS!  |  recognizing partner success 

SGA congratulates City of Fort Lauderdale and its Transportation and Mobility Division for completion of the NE 13th Street Complete Streets Project. The project converted a 1/2 mile segment of the four-lane arterial street that was being used as a regional bypass for high-speed auto traffic to a neighborhood-friendly, commercial/residential Complete Street with the following features: reduced to two-lane road; replaced travel lanes with bicycle lanes and on-street parking; introduced a roundabout to replace a signalized intersection; provided landscaped medians and mid-block crossings; incorporated native landscaping, and stormwater management design including bioswales, pave drains, and water catchment systems.

Mr. Garber assisted the City from cradle-to-grave — completing traffic analyses, feasibility studies, concept development, coordination/accommodation of public art, public outreach through management of PS&E, permits and construction bid documents, and through post-design services and construction — over nine months. 

NE 13th Street before 

NE 13th Street after

SGA congratulates Washington State Department of Transportation Olympic Region office for completing the Mounts Rd. to Center Dr. Auxiliary Lane Extension project, which is the first of four construction stages of its $495m I-5/Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) project. Funded through the Connecting Washington revenue package, the total program, which is expected to be completed by the year 2025, encompasses reconstruction of four interchanges, widening the mainline by one lane in each direction, overcrossing of passenger rail mainline, linking bike and pedestrian paths and local roadway connections.

Sorin Garber supported the Olympic Region office through the project’s alternatives analysis phase. He facilitated sessions with stakeholders which led to the identification of 163 alternatives and a least cost planning screening methodology to advance the most promising alternatives into the environmental process.

“Unity Beacon” art installation in roundabout near west end of project where Dixie Highway meets NE 13th Street

© 2019 Sorin Garber & Associates