UK etailers dispatched more parcels from January to November this year than during the whole of 2013, confirming this is a record year for online retailing.
More than 930 million parcels are forecast to be dispatched by UK retailers across all sectors by the end of 2014, compared to 800 million parcels in 2013, according to the IMRG MetaPack Delivery Index.
This year has also seen an increase in overseas deliveries, with just under 20 million orders sent abroad during November, compared with 18.2 million during the same month last year. Orders from non-UK shoppers are expected to slow down as the Christmas deadline approaches.
The proportion of orders delivered or attempted ‘on time’ in November was at almost 93%, which is a month-on-month and year-on-year improvement.
However a number of retailers reported unprecedented volumes of traffic and orders following Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, which meant they were unable to fulfil orders fast enough at the end of November, creating some delays in dispatching parcels.
Some carriers also struggled to cope with the increased demand, and these delays may counteract the good results earlier in November.
“On the whole this has been an exceptional year for UK e-retailers, their carrier partners and the companies providing support services,” said Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG.
“The Black Friday/Cyber Monday problems may have dented some consumer’s confidence, but we should all appreciate that the short-term demand spike was exceptional and unprecedented. I have no doubt that retailers and their supply partners will review the impact of ‘super sales’ days in the run up to Christmas and will learn the lessons for next year.”
Angela Connell, strategy and marketing director at MetaPack, added: “What’s also striking about the November index is how it reveals the continuing appeal of UK ecommerce to international online shoppers who are shopping here in even higher volumes than 2013, partly because they have confidence in the industry to deliver overseas.”