How COVID-19 has Changed HOA and Condo Deliveries

By Laura Otto
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Groceries, gym equipment, and home office furniture are just some of the items people are ordering online and having delivered to their doorstep or front desk since the COVID-19 pandemic began. According to new data from Digital Commerce 360, a media and research organization, 90% of consumers prefer home delivery over a store visit.

The numbers speak for themselves: in April and May 2020, Americans spent more than $153 billion online, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. This figure was 7% higher than the $143 billion spent online during the 2019 holiday season. In June 2020, online spending totaled $73 billion, a 76% increase compared to the year before. 

As consumer demand for online shopping grows, shipping companies are working around the clock to get packages where they need to be. UPS notes that its average daily shipping volume rose 21% in the June quarter, faster than the company has ever recorded, with a 65% increase in shipments to homes, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The way deliveries are handled has changed, especially in shared spaces like condo mailrooms and at front desks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends contactless deliveries, meaning limited or no contact with package recipients or potentially contaminated surfaces like doors and pens. 

To increase resident safety, some condominiums’ coronavirus protocols include spraying packages with disinfectant before bringing them inside. Small packages are being slipped to recipients through a plexiglass window, while some condo buildings are prohibiting the delivery of large pieces of furniture, like mattresses, that would require the help of a third-party service or the building staff.

This online ordering surge has given porch pirates—individuals who steal delivered packages from properties—more opportunities than ever before. Prior to the pandemic, an estimated 36% of people had been the victim of porch pirates, according to a 2019 C+R Research report. It’s unknown exactly how many people have been the victim of package theft during the pandemic. However, concerns about package theft ballooned at a time when many states were under stay-at-home orders.

If residents in your association have been frequent targets of package theft during the pandemic, here are some tips to deter thieves and ensure packages are kept safe:

  • Schedule deliveries when purchasing expensive items such as electronics, to arrange for them to be made when you are home. About 45% of homeowners surveyed by Aurora, Ill.-based packaging business Shorr said that they scheduled deliveries to prevent package theft.
  • Notify a relative or a neighbor when you are expecting a package. If you can’t be home when a package is delivered, have a family member or a trusted neighbor be on the lookout. You also may want to give them permission to grab your package and hold it until you arrive.
  • Recording devices can provide evidence of package theft to bring to your association’s board and notify police. Shorr’s report notes that 31% of respondents installed video cameras after having packages stolen. Check your association’s rules and regulations on these devices before installing them.
  • Opt for package pickup. Many delivery companies have lockers and pickup points in numerous retail locations that have extended hours, allowing you to collect your package at your convenience.

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Laura Otto

Laura Otto is editor of CAI’s award-winning Community Manager. A seasoned journalist, Laura previously worked for a creative, advocacy agency in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and edited content for a variety of public health clients. Prior to that, Laura served as a senior writer and editor for the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Laura is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia.