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E-commerce surge stretches Royal Mail

14 December 2011 - 10:41 by Graham Miller

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The Royal Mail has been facing the busiest period of the year due to the spike in safe shopping online across the UK, with individual sorting centres handling over 180,000 parcels each in a single night earlier this week.

Although Brits are sending less Christmas cards and letters than ever before, with a drop of 14 per cent in this area, it seems that the growing number of people buying gifts from e-commerce sites is on the rise.

Sorting rooms and distribution centres across the country are hiring in temporary staff by the thousands and it is expected that these workers will still have a place well into 2012, because the January sales will encourage people to keep spending their cash via safe shopping online.

Online retailer Amazon recently decided to continue using the Royal Mail to deliver the majority of its packages, which has contributed significantly to the boom and it is being heralded by managers at the public organisation as being a vital asset in its survival.

One Royal Mail depot manager estimated that there was a 12 per cent increase in the number of packages being handled when compared to the festive season in 2010.

This Monday is being seen as the busiest day yet for postal workers, with over ten million individual items being passed through the system in a single 24 hour period.

Anyone who wants to buy their gifts from an e-commerce site will need to get their order in by December 17th if they are paying for second class postage and they want the parcel to arrive prior to the big day to avoid disappointment.

Those seeking first class delivery can leave it as late as Tuesday December 20th, although individual retailers give their own advice in this situation.