Growth in online retail parcel volumes beat industry forecasts in 2015, finishing 15.7% up compared to the previous year, the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index estimated this week.
The strong end to the year came after a slow start to the year, with a record 1.065 billion parcels dispatched, of which an estimated 260 million were handled through the peak trading period in November and December. That was about 10m ahead of forecasts.
IMRG detected also a notable shift in trend in the month-on-month growth rate between November and December. While usually, the trend increases in November and steepens into December, this year it flattened slightly, reflecting perceptions that shoppers brought Christmas spending forward in response as many retailers extended their Black Friday discount periods and moved them forward.
‘On time’ delivery performance remained at a record high of 92% throughout the peak period.
Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG : “After the issues caused by the unprecedented scale of the Black Friday weekend last year, it’s very encouraging to see just how efficiently fulfilment operations ran on the whole this year – with 92% of deliveries made on-time during peak, a significant improvement on 89% in the same period last year. It’s a testament to all the hard work that industry has put in over the past year.
“Looking ahead to 2016 we see a number of key focus areas for fulfilment operations including improving returns management, creating new capacity including the wider adoption of third party click & collect, better transparency for cross-border deliveries and wider provision of in-transit delivery information.”
Kees de Vos, chief product officer at MetaPack : “The profile of the peak period was entirely different to any previous year and highlighted just how important it is for both retailers and the carrier community to plan ahead, communicate and work closely in tandem. Customers took full advantage of flexible offers over a longer period of time, which could be fulfilled efficiently leading to enhanced customer service. As a result the industry didn’t just reach the record billion parcel mark, it smashed right through it.”