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Christmas 2014 consumer demand set to peak four times: analysis

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Online retailers must prepare to respond quickly as consumer demand ahead of Christmas 2014 peaks four times, new analysis suggests.

MetaPack‘s Peak Delivery Analysis predicts particularly high volumes of orders will be placed on each of the four Mondays of December. The highest peak, it suggests, will be December 1, followed closely by December 15.

Shopping patterns, suggests the research from the delivery management software company, will be driven as Christmas falls on a Thursday, so orders placed on the previous Monday and Tuesday could be delivered in time for Christmas. At the same time, consumers’ move to buy online and over mobile will also have significant effects.

Angela O’Connell, marketing and strategy director at MetaPack , said: “As retailers and carriers gear up for the Christmas push, trying to ensure the best possible delivery experience is going to be weighing heavy on their minds.

“There are going to be steep peaks of online delivery demand that the industry will need to scale week after week in the run up to Christmas. However, the industry has been innovating all year on delivery in readiness for Christmas 2014. There’s tremendous collaboration among retailers and carriers to widen the choice available to consumers and meet their demands for greater flexibility. In fact, this Christmas consumers will be increasingly embracing innovative options like Sunday service and click and collect, which will play an integral role this Christmas.”

MetaPack forecasts that Christmas 2014 will be the busiest so far, with online orders and deliveries set to reach 120m in December alone. Because the shopping season is starting later, following the late summer slowdown, order volumes are expected to peak later. It says volumes will rise by 10% initially and then increase steadily in the run up to December 25.

MetaPack will share figures on peak performance throughout the run up to Christmas, publishing data each Tuesday from now until Christmas.

City Link says its preparations are in place ahead of this year’s peak, with temporary drivers and warehouse staff added to its regular workforce.

Liam Tucker, City Link’s operations director, said: “City Link had one of its most successful peak periods in 2013 and we are looking forward to an even busier and more successful one in 2014. We’ve been planning since January and have worked with all of our larger customers to understand demand, put in place capacity and ensure contingency arrangements are there too.”

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