UK e-commerce to “learn lessons” over Cyber Monday deliveries

UK e-commerce trade body IMRG has said “lessons will be learned” over e-commerce delivery delays stemming from this year’s Cyber Monday retail event. The organisation said “unprecedented” volumes of parcels have arisen during this year’s peak season in Europe’s largest online retail market, with the promotional event at the end of November contributing to challenges for carriers.

The IMRG said extensive promotion of the sales on Cyber Monday led to an “online tsunami” as shoppers held off on purchases earlier in the week to wait for the sales weekend.

Some carriers “struggled to cope” with an “overwhelming” volume of orders in the short-term, it said, leading to delivery delays.

According to the IMRG figures, which are based on figures from carrier management software firm MetaPack, November had seen a 93% on time rate for parcel delivery, an improvement on last year.

The IMRG said problems following Cyber Monday would hit the “excellent” result, although contingency measures were quickly deployed to ensure the “vast majority” of items will be delivered in time for Christmas.


IMRG head of logistics Andrew Starkey said: “On the whole this has been an exceptional year for UK e-retailers, their carrier partners and the companies providing support services. The Black Friday/Cyber Monday problems may have dented some consumer’s confidence but we should all appreciate that the short-term demand spike was exceptional and unprecedented.

“I have no doubt that retailers and their supply partners will review the impact of ‘super sales’ days in the run up to Christmas and will learn the lessons for next year,” Starkey added.

IMRG said continuing growth in e-commerce in the UK means this year is already another record year for parcel volumes. The number of parcels dispatched by e-retailers in the first 11 months of the year exceeded the total for the whole of 2013.

UK e-commerce merchants have also continued to see growth in demand from consumers overseas. Estimates suggest cross-border volumes will grow from last year’s 18.2m to just under 20m this year.

Angela Connell, strategy and marketing director at MetaPack, said the growth in cross-border trade showed the confidence that international online shoppers have in delivery from UK websites.

She said: “There’s always going to be lessons to be learnt for next year’s Peak but the industry is responding well to recent challenges and opportunities.”

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