UK e-retailers expected to dispatch 940m parcels in 2014

UK e-tail trade association IMRG and eCommerce technology provider MetaPack's Delivery Index has forecast that 940 million parcels will be dispatched by e-retailers in 2014 – 40 million more than previously expected.

Improving economic conditions and the continued growth of online retailing have prompted IMRG and MetaPack to revise its 2014 annual delivery volume growth figure from 12.5% to between 16-19%.

A statement detailing the results of the latest index said that "unprecedented cumulative year-on-year growth" in the first four months of this year is behind the new estimates, as demand among UK and international customers grows.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG, said: "As always we will continue to monitor this growth and adjust our assessment accordingly but given the evidence so far it would appear that the UK e-retail sector is emerging strongly from the recent economic doldrums."

Meanwhile, April was the first time in over a year that the percentage of 'on time' deliveries (92.62%) fell below the level achieved for the same month in the previous year, which IMRG says may be a result of larger than expected volumes and/or the first bank holidays of the year reducing delivery time slots.

"Given that order volumes are high and that April was a 'short month' due to the Easter break, it is perhaps not surprising that quality of service fell back a little this month," Starkey explained.

"With the steady increase in carrier capacity and with click & collect acting as an additional outlet, we hope and expect that the positive trend for this measure will soon be restored."

The IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking survey, published earlier this week, found that mobile accounted for 34% of UK e-retail sales in the first quarter of the year, which was 2% up on the previous quarter and an increase of 14% year on year.

Chris Webster, VP, consumer retail & technology at Capgemini, commented: "Where retailers once invested in mCommerce platforms to gain a competitive edge, such is the ubiquity of the technology, the playing field could now be considered almost level.

"Whilst click & collect has dropped slightly this quarter, in-line with recent trends, we can expect the delivery channel to become key to retaining brand loyalty as customers will shop around for greater convenience."

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