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Online retail ends summer with high Christmas delivery volumes forecast

New figures have revealed that UK retailers are on course to dispatch a record 900 million orders or 930 million parcels in 2014, with 120 million orders in December alone.


Online retail ends summer with high Christmas delivery volumes forecast

The latest August IMRG MetaPack Delivery Index shows there was a predicted lull in online retail in August with orders down 13.6% month-on-month. However, this still represented a cumulative growth rate year-on-year of 20%. Based on past e-retail delivery patterns, order volumes are expected to increase by 10% and steadily grow in the run-up to Christmas.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics for IMRG, said: “With three years of data in the Index we can now predict the annual pattern of when and where these deliveries will be made. This means we can confidently anticipate that a record 120 million orders will be dispatched by UK retailers in December alone.”

The index also reveals that delivery service performance improved during August with close to 94% of deliveries on time which is higher compared to the same period for the last two years. Overall, the proportion of orders either late or not delivered at the first attempt was 10.72% in August compared to the monthly average of 11.6% over the last 12 months.

Starkey added: “Quality of service is higher this August than in the previous two years which bodes well for the peak period. Some delivery problems relating to address queries seem to be on the rise so retailers need to keep an eye on this.”

The index shows that there was a rise in the number of consumers choosing next day/specified day deliveries during August. While economy options remained the most popular, next day/specified day represented 28% of all dispatched orders and 3% of these were weekend deliveries. By comparison, the proportion of next day/specified orders fell to a low of 19% of all orders in 2013.

Angela O’Connell, marketing and strategy director at MetaPack, added: “Giving customers more choice and freedom on deliveries will underpin how well the industry handles the pressures of the Christmas peak. It seems that August was a dry run for these alternatives and unsurprisingly shoppers have seized the opportunity to take greater control, supporting further investment in Sunday delivery and click and collect services.”


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