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Signed, sealed, not delivered: delivery delays, damage and ‘porch poaching’ hits ecommerce

As many as 73% of consumers believe that more parcels are going missing since the cost-of-living crisis, with the two thirds of orders also coming late and half damaged.

That’s according to new data from Delivery Experience Platform Sorted, which found that consumers are losing trust that online deliveries will arrive on time – if at all – amidst the current chaotic climate.

The survey of 1,000 UK consumers found that 63% have experienced a delayed order in the past six months, while two fifths experienced a delay of more than two weeks. 

In addition to delays, half (55%) have had their orders lost or damaged. Of those who experienced issues, 73% had to chase the retailer on the whereabouts of their parcel, rather than receiving proactive delivery tracking updates from the retail brand itself. Unsurprisingly, 85% of consumers are either not, or only somewhat, confident that online deliveries will arrive on time or undamaged.

One cause of the disruption was the postal strike, whereby more than two thirds of customers (68%) reported having had their delivery impacted. To avoid disappointment, 63% said they ordered an online delivery earlier because of anticipated delays, and 69% have shopped in-store because they didn’t trust an online order would arrive when promised. 

Despite this, it’s positive to see that 87% of consumers would trust a brand more if they had communicated the status of the delivery more effectively.

Carmen Carey, CEO at Sorted, explains: “It’s clear that the cost-of-living crisis, staff shortages, overwhelmed delivery networks and bad weather are all contributing to the delivery chaos we’re seeing at the start of 2023. Although these factors are largely out of retailers’ hands, it’s still a brand’s job to communicate with customers and manage their expectations – as customer delivery experience is critical and broken customer promises are costly. Our research found that over a third of shoppers will only shop with brands they’ve previously had a positive experience with. As we navigate the road ahead, proactivity will be the most impactful way to rebuild and sustain trust with consumers.” 

Cost-of-delivery crisis

When asked if the cost-of-living crisis has impacted whether they pay more attention to a brand’s reputation, nearly half of consumers (47%) say they now always read reviews on the delivery experiences before they purchase online. 

When it comes to shipping costs, more than half (51%) of consumers said they prefer to shop with brands who offer free delivery, while 37% would avoid paying extra for same or next day delivery. As more brands move towards paid returns, a staggering 82% of consumers say this would put them off buying online.

Delivering on time (37%) was voted the most valued aspect of the delivery experience. This was followed by low shipping costs (32%) and proactive updates about their order/return (26%).

“With consumers spending less, they are now much more selective with who they buy from. That’s why retailers need to be demonstrating seamless delivery experiences, every time. Each online order is an opportunity to wow customers, while one bad experience could turn them away for good.” Carey concludes. 

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