UK delivery timeframes shorten due to increase in next-day purchases

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The latest data from parcel delivery platform MetaPack and online retail association IMRG has revealed that the typical delivery timeframe for goods and parcels appears to be shrinking as next-day delivery services are accounting for a greater share of online orders.

Looking at 2016 as a whole, next-day was selected as the delivery option for 31% of online retail orders, up from 26.8% in 2015. Over the same period, the share of orders using economy services fell from 45.5% in 2015 to 38.9% in 2016.

The latest data has also tracked a notable shift in the peak delivery periods over Christmas. In 2014, the monthly growth in order volumes between November and December was 27.7%; in 2015 it was 14.3% but in 2016 it was just 4.5%.

IMRG believes this is largely explained by Black Friday falling earlier in 2016 (November 25), compared with November 28 in 2014 and November 27 in 2015. Although orders were taken late in November in 2014 and 2015, many of them would actually have been fulfilled in early December.

One of the consequences of larger parcel volumes in November is that it has had an impact on the level of on-time deliveries, with a three-year low for November 2016 of 91.4%. This was followed by a three-year high for December 2016 of 91.5%.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics, IMRG, said, “It’s not hard to see why delivery times are speeding up, as many retailers feature their next-day offer prominently at the top of their homepage in order to attract and keep customers. With delivery service so important to shoppers, retailers must look at all aspects to keep ahead of their competition and customer’s expectations.”

Chris Hoskin, head of marketing at MetaPack, said, “Next-day delivery has become the new norm for customers in the UK – who increasingly regard it as a standard rather than premium service. This is commercially challenging for many retailers who have invested heavily in securing and maintaining their online customer base. They now, more than ever before, have to balance the costs and operational implications of managing a reliable next day service with meeting customer demands.”

January 30, 2017

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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