Online retail delivery order volumes were up almost 17% year-on-year in October, according to new data out today.
Although the volume of orders was not out of scope for October it was certainly at the upper limit, which may have been as a result of the wide availability of early discounting on retail sites throughout October, the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index shows.
With the Black Friday period now completed from a sales perspective and cyber week in full flow, logistics operations now come to the fore as they fulfil all the orders that shoppers have placed (and continue to place) – and industry is having to adapt to a general shift toward faster fulfilment of those orders.
The percentage of orders being delivered on time was down on last year – dropping by 7.4 percentage points on the rate achieved in October 2016, reaching 87.2%.
The most likely influence here is the increasing provision for next day and specified day deliveries, which represented 49% of UK orders in October. This puts a higher level of pressure on operations, reducing the scope to carry deliveries over to the following day.
Andrew Starkey, head of e-Logistics at IMRG said: “The lower on-time delivery rate of 87.2% appears largely due to a steady shift towards next day as the new ‘standard’ for delivery. Next day is being widely promoted and often free if spend is above a certain threshold, as retailers seek to use their delivery offers to attract and retain shoppers. The good news is that although on time rates are down, it is likely that more parcels are being delivered faster than ever before and in line with increasing customer expectations.”
Bruce Fair, chief revenue officer at MetaPack, said: “We have seen a gradual increase in volumes across our delivery platform since October and we anticipate that this will continue into the New Year. Black Friday and the Cyber Weekend followed this trend, but with an even greater peak in deliveries than we expected, which will inevitably put continued pressure on express services.”