Next-day delivery and overseas orders on the up

Online retail orders saw growth in August and for the first time the number using next-day delivery options surpassed those going for cheaper options.

The latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index found that online retail orders saw year-on-year growth of 18.2 per cent in August.

It revealed that the number of online orders requesting next-day delivery (36.7 per cent) was higher than those using economy options (33.8 per cent) for the first time in the index’s history.

Consumer confidence remained resilient, as the index reported an increase in the percentage of orders going cross-border since the EU referendum on June 23. In August, 27.8 per cent of UK orders were tracked to international destinations, with IMRG attributing the increase to the sharp drop in the value of the pound.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG, said: “We’ve been tracking a general increase in the percentage of ‘next-day’ orders for a while now, and in August it became the most popular option domestically for the first time. There are a number of factors potentially influencing this. Some retailers see delivery as a differentiator and are offering next-day as standard, others offer it if the customer’s basket value is above a specific threshold. For others, the charge for next-day is smaller than it has been on average in previous years. A move toward faster delivery is not unexpected and, for carriers, it doesn’t represent a capacity issue during most of the year – but during peaks such as the Black Friday period, promotion of next day delivery should be handled more cautiously.”

Kees de Vos, chief product officer at MetaPack, added: “August is traditionally a slower month, so it is great to see delivery numbers swinging up again, and cumulative growth back on track. Despite our concerns about the effects of the European referendum, overseas shoppers are taking advantage of the strength of the sterling, which is boosting overseas deliveries with the added bonus that we are seeing a rise in order values from cross-border shopping. With requests for next-day deliveries moving ahead of economy delivers we are also witnessing a strengthening in the trend towards speed over cost.”