Research and insights

The Global Distributors Collective works to provide a collective voice for the last mile distribution sector, and to increase stakeholders’ understanding of the vital role that last mile distributors play in alleviating global poverty and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Key to this is generating evidence and insights to offer a unique window into the challenges, priorities and opportunities faced by distributors and the support they need to thrive. You may also be interested in our series of blogs on themes such as gender, procurement and future-gazing.

The growth and fundraising journeys of last mile distributors (LMDs)

Based on interviews with a set of high performing LMDs from the GDC membership, this research considers what growth and impact look like in the LMD sector; what kind of capital is needed to support LMDs; and what the barriers are for LMDs to accessing that capital. The research was first presented in April 2021 at the Last Mile Distribution Investor Forum.

How is the last mile distribution sector adapting and innovating following COVID-19?

This report brings together insights from interviews and peer learning workshops with 23 CDC investees and GDC members operating in the energy, agriculture, health, water, e-commerce and fastmoving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors, along with sector-wide research. Aiming to help businesses in the LMD sector to adapt, improve their resilience and accelerate their recovery, this report explores the challenges, innovations and suggested solutions in four areas identified by participating companies as priorities for post-Covid 19 business activities. These are: smart use of working capital, MNC and e-commerce partnerships, digitising customer relations and remote field team management.

Finding the sweet spot: identifying affordable quality solar products for the last mile

This report brings together the Global Distributors Collective’s key findings from six months of research on the quality of best-selling non-quality-verified (non-QV) off-grid solar products in Kenya. It identifies non-QV products that are close to meeting the Lighting Global Quality Standards, while remaining highly price-competitive with leading products in the market today. The report’s findings will help distributors, and the off-grid sector as a whole, to identify products in a ‘price-quality sweet spot’ to better serve customers at the last mile.

Last Mile Distribution: State of the sector report

Based on a survey of 72 GDC members from 30+ countries, as well as a series of expert interviews, this first-of-its-kind report highlights the vital role of last mile distributors (LMDs) in creating markets for beneficial products and effectively reaching last mile customers. It contains a wealth of new data and insights and provides tangible recommendations for stakeholders on how to engage with and support the sector.

GET.invest EU Logo

The growth and fundraising journeys of last mile distributors (2021) was supported by GET.invest, a European programme which aims to mobilise investment in decentralised renewable energy, supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria.

CDC logo

How is the last mile distribution sector adapting and innovating following COVID-19? (2021) was funded by CDC Group, the UK’s impact investor.

UK Aid logo

State of the Sector (2019) and Finding the Sweet Spot: identifying affordable quality solar products for the last mile (2020) were funded by UK aid from the British government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.