The growth of next day deliveries in the UK
The latest data from IMRG and MetaPack reveals that the typical delivery timeframe appears to be shrinking – as next-day delivery services are accounting for a greater share of online orders.
Looking at 2016 as a whole, next-day was selected as the delivery option for 31% of online retail orders, up from 26.8% in 2015. Over the same period, the share of orders using economy services fell from 45.5% in 2015 to 38.9% in 2016.
The latest data has also tracked a notable shift in when the bulk of Christmas peak deliveries fall. In 2014 the monthly growth in order volumes between November and December was +27.7%; in 2015 it was +14.3% but in 2016 it was just +4.5%. This is largely explained by Black Friday falling earlier in 2016 (25 November), whereas it was 28 November in 2014 and 27 November in 2015, and the fact that with previous years’ experience retailers have been extending this pre-Christmas sales period even earlier into November. In 2014 and 2015 although the orders were taken late in November, many of them would actually have been fulfilled in early December.
A consequence of higher volumes in November is an impact on the level of on time delivery over the peak period with a three-year low for November (91.4% followed by a three-year high for December (91.5%).
Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics, IMRG, said:
“It’s not hard to see why delivery times are speeding up, as many retailers feature their next-day offer prominently at the top of their homepage in order to attract and keep customers. With delivery service so important to shoppers retailers must look at all aspects to keep ahead of their competition and customer’s expectations.”
Chris Hoskin, head of marketing at MetaPack, said:
“Next day delivery has become the new norm for customers in the UK – who increasingly regard it as a standard rather than premium service. This is commercially challenging for many retailers who have invested heavily in securing and maintaining their online customer base. They now, more than ever before, have to balance the costs and operational implications of managing a reliable next day service with meeting customer demands.”