Walmart completed more than 6,000 drone deliveries in 2022, according to a company announcement Thursday.
The achievement follows the company’s rapid expansion of the transportation method's availability. Walmart now has 36 U.S. stores with drone delivery hubs, which are operated by DroneUp, Flytrex and Zipline. The stores are located in seven states — Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
Walmart now has 36 stores with drone delivery hubs
The retailer still has a long way to go to reach its goal of 1 million packages delivered by drone annually. Still, it is encouraged by the positive response from customers and looks forward to making more progress in 2023, Vik Gopalakrishnan, Walmart U.S. vice president of innovation and automation, said in a statement.
Walmart and its partners currently offer up to 20,000 items available for drone delivery, according to a company fact sheet. Customers' favorite items delivered by drone include Great Value Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, rotisserie chicken and Bounty Paper Towels.
Despite weight and range limitations, drone delivery offers the speed necessary to effectively deliver a temperature-sensitive item like ice cream, as it takes 30 minutes or less for a drone to deliver after an order is placed, per Walmart.
“I’m incredibly proud of our team for creating the largest drone delivery footprint of any U.S. retailer and providing customers with an incredibly fast – and innovative – option for delivery," Gopalakrishnan said.
Walmart said in previous announcements on rollouts in Arizona, Florida and Texas that customers within one mile of participating stores are eligible to use the service.