Online delivery growth at four-year high

Online retail delivery volumes rose 40% between October and November, according to data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index – the highest month-on-month growth recorded since the Index launched in 2011.

This figure reflects the huge demand over the Black Friday period – which was extended over a longer timeframe by many retailers this year – and was already building on record October-high year-on-year growth of +15.5%.

The year-on-year growth for November this year was almost double that of last year (+29.6%).

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In 2014 the unprecedented scale of Black Friday led to significant problems for the online retail supply chain, as record volumes were concentrated into a very tight window and some retailer and carrier operations became overwhelmed.

So far this year, ‘on-time / first-time’ delivery performance has been strong –running at above 92% over the past 12 months and in November, above 93%.

While the true performance picture cannot be revealed until December’s full data is available – as Black Friday / Cyber Monday orders enter the carrier networks after the peak weekend – there have so far been no signs of the widespread logistics issues seen last year.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG said: “A key part of our advice to retailers running discount campaigns this year was to extend them over longer periods to relieve the pressure on supply chains. It seems that many did bring forward their sales activity, which has so far helped industry to fulfil the huge volumes of orders efficiently – in spite of Black Friday becoming an even bigger event than last year.
“Of course delivery operations are still right in the middle of their peak period, but the signs so far are positive – no doubt also a reflection of the huge investment made by carriers in recent years in order to ensure peak can be managed effectively.”

Kees de Vos, chief product officer at MetaPack commented: “Looking at performance across our platform over the last two weeks, we can see that the delivery industry and retailers have coped well so far having been through two significant peaks, and this is entirely down to better collaboration and preparation than in previous years. The industry has been able to enjoy the expected growth in volumes and so far, despite a few glitches, keep operations running smoothly.”

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