Online delivery volumes high in lead-up to Black Friday
Online parcel volume growth was up 15.5% in October – the highest rate recorded for the month of October since the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index launched in 2011.
With Black Friday due to come in November, and shopper awareness of the potential for discounting activity high, the October performance is ahead of what many may have expected – particularly given that online retail sales revenue growth actually recorded its lowest October rate last month.
It appears that this is being driven by shoppers continuing to purchase lower-cost items – sectors that typically have lower basket values performed quite strongly in October. However, while some sectors with higher basket values recorded negative growth in October, this is not to suggest that shoppers are not buying more expensive items – the disparity between revenue growth and parcel growth suggests that products from multiple sectors are shifting, but at discounted rates for categories such as electronics.
The rate of on-time delivery has been high all year, and this has been maintained into October – with a 93.6% success rate. The real test is still to come but early signs are that the significant investment in peak capacity and resource is working so far.
Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics, IMRG, said: “The strong performance for October suggests that shoppers are still making purchases even though many know that the heavy discounting period is just around the corner. Despite the news that some major retailers have decided not to specifically participate in Black Friday promotions, we do expect a similar pattern to last year – with a sharp fall-away in sales leading up to Black Friday followed by a huge spike in demand at the end of the month and into early December. However, we do anticipate that many retailers will be launching Black Friday marketing throughout the week, which may help to spread the demand.”
Kees de Vos, chief product officer at MetaPack, said: “The trend, supported by the October figures, is towards growth, and this will continue to the end of the year. Our view is that orders will hit record numbers over the Black Friday weekend and parcel volumes will run throughout December with a second delivery peak reaching the highest numbers immediately after the Christmas break and before New Year. However, retailers have adopted new strategies and this will help to spread the delivery load over a much longer period of time.”