Online delivery volumes hit forecast in Q1
Online retail delivery volumes were up +12.7% year-on-year in March (+12% on February) according to the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index, as the first quarter (Q1) of the year was completed in line with our growth forecast of +12%.
After the online retail sales slowdown in Q1 last year, 2016 has got off to a more steady start with a number of key measures performing as expected including the proportion of orders going cross-border matching 2015 so far this year and the percentage of ‘on-time’ delivery remaining consistent with both March 2014 and 2015 at +94%.
The two areas where we are seeing a shift in trend this year are average parcel order values – which were up almost 21% on the same month last year – and the proportion of orders despatched using ‘specified day / next day’ delivery services in March. At just below 35% of all volume, these services have not accounted for a share this high at this time of year since March 2012.
Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics, IMRG, said:
“It’s been a fairly unremarkable start to the year in terms of order patterns so far, which is perhaps no bad thing after the unpredictable performance in Q1 last year when there was an unexpected slowdown in online sales. Last year it’s possible that the general election had an impact on shopper confidence and there are some potentially disruptive influences to come in 2016 in terms of the EU referendum and US election, as well as big sporting events such as the Olympics and European tournament, the early impact of which we will be monitoring closely.”
Kees de Vos, chief product officer at MetaPack, said:
“The growth in average parcel order values and orders being delivered via specific or next day delivery, only highlights the growing trend for consumers to use a variety of delivery options that suit their lifestyles. The adoption of sophisticated personalisation engines that really took off in 2015 is reaping dividends for retailers whose customers can choose exactly when and how their deliveries are made.”