Christmas and Black Friday chaos could be on the horizon, with a shortage of lorry drivers in Britain expected to hit delivery firms as they try to keep up with demand, according to experts.
Shoppers outside Topshop on the morning of Black Friday
Spend on Black Friday (November 27) will reach £1.07bn, up 32% on last year’s £810m, Experian and IMRG have predicted. On Cyber Monday (November 30), it will reach £943m, up 31% on last year’s £720m.
However, the logistics industry has warned that it needs up to 60,000 more drivers than are currently available to fulfil orders, according to the Daily Express.
Jonathan De Mello, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs, told the newspaper: “This Christmas is set to be the best for retailers since 2007, with strong economic fundamentals including real wage growth, and low inflation and unemployment.
“However, if Christmas gifts don’t arrive or are delivered late, what might be a good Christmas for orders might be a very bad January in terms of product returns/refunds.
“The lorry driver shortage has reached chronic levels and George Osborne’s promise of funding to part-subsidise driver training and licensing – at a paltry £150m – does not nearly go far enough to alleviate the problem.
“Bricks-and-mortar retailers stand to benefit the most from this shortage vs online-only pure-play retailers, as they can at least offer click-and-collect services to shoppers wanting to guarantee they receive the item they have ordered.”