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Retailers dispatched 10% more online orders in September, with Brexit bounce for international orders

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UK retailers dispatched 10% more online orders in September than they did a year ago, new figures from the IMRG suggest.

This puts year-to-date (Jan – Sep) growth at 12.8%, according to the IMRG MetaPack Delivery Index for the month. That’s slightly ahead of the index’s forecast for the full year and comes ahead of the peak trading season. The index also noted international deliveries continued to be well ahead of 2015. In September, 27.5% of parcels sent by UK retailers were bound for overseas. That’s slightly down on the 27.8% growth recorded in August but up from the 23.8% growth of last September.

IMRG says the most obvious driver for this trend is the fall in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote – and this may also be influencing a trend for increasing numbers of orders going to non-EU destinations. Over the past 12 months, the higher percentage gone to EU destinations but in the past two months the greatest proportion of cross-border orders have gone to non-EU destinations.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG , said: “We typically see cross-border orders slow down between October and December as peak trading kicks in, but it seems possible that a higher volume may be sustained this year. The EU usually accounts for the higher percentage of cross-border volumes, but the past two months have seen non-EU destinations account for a greater share. This may well be due to the relative strength of the currencies in various markets around the world – while the euro has gained 13% against sterling since Brexit, the US dollar has gained 15.5% and the Australian dollar 16.5%. It’s quite possible that further falls in the value of sterling may continue to drive this trend.”

Kees de Vos, chief product officer at MetaPack , said: “Cross-border ecommerce is providing a positive impact on volume growth. Retailers trading overseas are able to reap the dividends of the fluctuating value of sterling, and this is likely to continue, contributing to the 12% growth that is forecast for 2016. As we enter the peak period, we know a rise in online volumes is already underway, so continued carrier delivery performance and retail operational efficiency is vital to ensuring customer satisfaction.”

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