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Online Shopping Growth Sees Consumer Deliveries Overtake Commercial Shipping

16 February 2012 - 10:01 by Graham Miller

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The expansion of safe shopping online in the UK could mean that within four years, over half of all parcels that are sent out for delivery are destined for ordinary consumers rather than for businesses.

In the past the balance was very much tilted towards the commercial sector, but a study from Global Freight Solutions suggests that this will be overturned by 2016.

Consumers accounted for 37 percent of all parcel deliveries made in the weeks leading up to Christmas last year and the vast majority of these packages could be attributed to e-commerce sites fulfilling orders made online.

The upshot of the consumer usage of parcel delivery firms will be a major reshuffle in the way in which the industry is organised, according to the report.

Going back 10 years it is thought that just a tenth of the delivery market was based on consumer orders during the peak season just before the festive period at the end of each year.

However, study spokesperson, Simon Veale said that safe shopping online has really come into its own since 2006 and is set to continue its shake up of the UK's courier infrastructure.

In the short term the increase in the volume of parcels being handled might mean that next day delivery is harder to guarantee, which could put e-commerce firms in a dilemma.

Delivery companies will need to adapt to getting parcels out to customers outside of business hours, because most people will be unable to remain at home during the day in order to receive a package.

By the Christmas of 2016 it is thought that an additional 4.75 million packages will be handled daily by delivery companies in the UK as a result of the booming e-commerce market.