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RETAILX UK GROWTH 2,000 2022 Speed of consignment


Retailers that stand out in the Delivery dimension of RetailX’s latest UK Growth 2000 report offer convenient delivery promises, including options that are fast and affordable.

Delivery is the single biggest factor in encouraging shoppers to buy online, RetailX research suggests. The RetailX Consumer Observatory asked shoppers for the top three reasons that made them more likely to choose to buy online rather than in-store. Direct delivery to the door is named by 46% of UK respondents. Respondents also said they are more likely to have ordered online for home delivery than to have collected it either from a shop or a third-party distribution point.

Most says that next-day delivery has been an important factor in their online purchases over the previous year, whether for all (18%), most (38%) or some (31%) of their orders. Only 13% said that next-day delivery was not a factor for them – and only 12% said they always paid extra for next or same-day delivery. In all, 40% said never paid for same-day delivery and 31% never paid for next-day delivery.

Almost four in 10 (39%) said they got free delivery through a subscription, while 33.5% get their subscription orders quickly. Meanwhile, more than 70% of shoppers said they had returned a product whether they bought it online (76%) or in-store (71%) some, most or all of the time.

It makes sense, then for Growth 2000 retailers at least to offer the most convenient delivery and returns services that they can provide profitably. RetailX researchers investigated how these up-and-coming businesses approach delivery, from the cost to the speed of the promises that they make.

What delivery – and returns – promises do Growth 2000 retailers make?
As yet only a minority of retailers offer faster than standard delivery and very few offer same day. The median cost of delivery is £5 the median cost of delivery – although the median retailer offers delivery for free when shoppers spend at least £56.

Same-day delivery
Only 2% of G2K retailers offer same delivery – unchanged on last year. Those most likely to do so are those selling nutritional supplements – 7% of these sellers do so, followed by those selling tobacco and vaping supplies (6%), musical instruments and jewellery (both 4%). Less than 1% of those selling pet supplies, workwear software, music, film and TV products and supermarkets do so.

Next-day delivery
The offer of next-day delivery saw a small decline by 1pp to 34% among the 1,659 retailers assessed on this metric both this year and last. Next-day delivery is perhaps more likely to be available from those selling items where speed of delivery is a point of difference. Eighty per cent of those selling sexual lifestyle products deliver next day, while 48% of those selling nutritional supplements also do so, and 47% of those selling tobacco and vaping products.

But only 10% of those selling gardening equipment offer next-day delivery, while this speed of delivery is also less common among retailers selling music, film and TV products (16%), books (18%), software (20%) – perhaps because downloads of many of these are now more available for those who want an item in a hurry – and automotive equipment (20%).

Standard cost of delivery
Standard delivery from a Growth 2000 UK business costs an average of £7.34, following a typical 15p increase over the year, compared to last year. The median retailer charges £5 – the same as last year. Jewellers (average of £3.84 and median of £2.14) charge the least, followed by those selling tobacco and vaping products (£3.98/£3.59) and consumer electronics (£5.90/£3.69). At the other end of the scale, retailers selling gardening products charge average of £8.46 and a median of £6.9, and those selling DIY and trade tools charge an average of £11.10 and a median of £6.84.

Free delivery threshold
Often retailers offer free delivery once orders reach a set threshold. That threshold was £79.80 in 2022 – following a 38p rise since last year. The median retailers offers free delivery on orders costing £56 or over. Among the Growth 2000, musical instruments have the highest free delivery threshold, at an average of £157 and a median of £117, followed by alcoholic drinks (£102/£95.60) and DIY and trade tools sellers (£138/£69.20). This may be because these items tend to be larger and heavier and so cost more to send. Shoppers find lower free delivery thresholds among those selling jewellery (£41.40/£7.90) and music, film and TV products (£32.70/£19.40), while the average marketplace host offers free delivery when shoppers spend an £66.60 – while the median seller in this category offers free delivery when shoppers spend £25.70.

Pre-paid returns
There was a small increase in the proportion of retailers offering pre-paid returns. It rose by 1pp to 31% from 30% last year.

This feature originally appeared in the UK Growth 2000 2022 report, download in full here

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