Strong growth for online parcel volumes

Online retail parcel volumes grew 16.8% in February compared with the same month last year, according to the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index.

A month-on-month fall is typical at this time of year, but the -14.4% drop from January was less sharp than in February 2015, when it was -20%.

The delivery index results were closely aligned with the sales growth results in February – which were up 18% – as it seems that retailers in general scaled back the discounting activity that has been widespread for months, with average parcel order values up 19% on February last year.

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Cumulative volume growth in the delivery index for the first two months of the year is currently in line with our start-of-year forecast at 12.2% after two months of 2016.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics, IMRG said:  “2016 has the potential to be a seismic year in many respects, as there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding macro events that may influence shopper confidence. The biggest of these is the EU referendum of course, for which we now have a date set, but the outcome of the US presidential election and the changing fortunes of the Chinese economy could both have a significant impact on the performance of the retail sector here. For the time-being however, the e-logistics sector looks to be in a good place – with the percentage of on-time deliveries remaining high and almost reaching 95%.”

Kees de Vos, chief product officer at MetaPack commented: “It’s reassuring to see that delivery Index results are aligned with sales growth results and that in February we have reverted back to a more stable level of volumes. The retail landscape, however, is evolving and the impact of outside events will affect the Index this year. Change is also being brought about by new opportunities that are being afforded to consumers.”

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