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Online consumers demand more flexible delivery options

Online purchases of clothing and footwear will soar over the next four years, but consumers are increasingly looking for more flexible delivery options such as Sunday delivery or click-and-collect pick up points, according to a report commissioned by Barclays.

The report outlines that by 2018 the volume of deliveries in the clothing and footwear segment is expected to increase by 51% to 256 million, significantly outpacing the overall online retail market.

It highlights that the entire online retail market generated over 1 billion deliveries in 2013 and forecasts this to rise by 29% to 1.35 billion in 2018.

Currently letterbox-sized packages and small parcels make up the majority of all online orders and are expected to see the highest growth during the forecast period. The clothing and footwear segment accounts for the largest share, or 20%, of the market.

In terms of location, East Anglia is expected to see the biggest growth in deliveries, while the South East is the region with the highest number. In general, regions where people live to closer to towns and cities will see lower growth, found the report.

“Not only is the online purchasing and delivery market growing, it is also having to evolve quicker and more radically than previously,” said Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays. “Driven by the increasing use of tablet and mobile devices, almost seven in ten consumers say they are looking for more innovative and rapid delivery options such as Sunday delivery.”

However, he maintained that low cost delivery was still of prime importance for consumers.

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