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UK retailers on course to dispatch 900 million orders in 2014

British retailers are expected to dispatch a record 900 million orders or 930 million parcels this year, with 120 million orders in December alone. Although there was a lull in August, with orders down 13.6% month-on-month, there’s still a cumulative year-on-year growth of 20%.

numbers_bannerThis stems from the latest IMRG MetaPack Delivery Index. Based on online retail delivery patterns from the past, order volumes are expected to increase by 10% and steadily grow in the run-up to Christmas. “With three years of data in the Index we can now predict the annual pattern of when and where these deliveries will be made”, says Andrew Starkey, Head of e-Logistics at IMRG. “This means we can confidently anticipate that a record 120 million orders will be dispatched by UK retailers in December alone.”

Better delivery service in the UK
The delivery service performance also improved during August, with close to 94% of orders that were delivered on time. This is higher compared to the same month for the last two years. The share of orders either late or not delivered at the first attempt was 10.72% in August, while the monthly average over the last twelve months was 11.6%. Good news, but Starkey also has a remark: “Some delivery problems relating to address queries seem to be on the rise so retailers need to keep an eye on this.”

Another statistic that might underpin the conclusion delivery services are evolving in the UK is the rise in the number of consumers that chose next day/specified day deliveries during the month of August this year. Still, economy options remain the most popular, but next day/specified day represented 28% of all dispatched orders and 3% of these were weekend deliveries. This percentage is a lot higher than the 19% it was last year.

Investment in Sunday delivery and Click&Collect
“The revival in premium delivery services will have been driven by many factors”, says Angela O’Connell, Marketing and Strategy Director at MetaPack. “It does suggest that consumers are feeling more comfortable in making last minute purchasing decisions, knowing they can trust retailers to make next day deliveries successfully. 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.”