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Late arrivals plagued Christmas shopping period

06 February 2018 - 09:37 by Simon Crisp

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Figures published last week by IMRG reveal that more packages were handled in the UK than ever before during December of 2017, with the festive retail rush resulting in a new record being set.

The 17.2 per cent year on year rise in parcel volumes is impressive and shows the extent to which safe shopping online is shaping consumer habits. But analysts also found that delivery firms often struggled to cope during peak periods.

Fifteen per cent of the parcels shipped nationally in December last year were delayed, which in itself is the worst fulfilment level achieved since records were first taken seven years ago, according to Internet Retailing.

Report spokesperson, Andrew Starkey, said that many of the late deliveries were caused by unexpected bouts of snow and ice which hit parts of the UK in the final weeks of 2017. But even with extreme conditions taken into account, he said that the sheer number of parcels going through the system as Christmas drew near were enough to create problems.

The fact that more people who buy items via safe shopping online are choosing to pay for next day delivery was another reason for some firms failing to keep up with demand, Starkey explained. He argued that some retailers were offering this as an option even if it was not necessarily a selling point, effectively creating problems for themselves without seeing any real benefits.

The final week before December 25th saw a particularly steep spike in delivery requests, driven by the promises made by retailers that items ordered before a specific deadline would arrive in time for the big day. While the majority of deliveries did arrive as originally intended, plenty of shoppers will have been disappointed, which could shake their confidence in retailers.