What did we learn about online delivery in Q1 2016?

Find out how order volumes in the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index fared over the same period.


So far (with three months’ data in) this year, the online delivery landscape has looked reassuringly predictable – with the key metrics performing exactly as expected.

The start-of-year forecast was for +12% growth – for Q1 the year-on-year growth came in at 12.3% with the month-on-month volume trend closely tracking 2015, as shown by the below chart.

Picture 1



This breaks down by individual months as follows:

Month  Year-on-year growth     Month-on-month growth

January         +8.5%                     -37.5%

February       +16.8%                   -14.4%

March           +12.7%                    +12%


Although in the following destination analysis chart the only region showing any real change over the course of the past year is cross-border, it actually matches the trend seen in 2015 – with March 2016 tracking almost exactly in line with March 2015 – and, taking the year as a whole, the proportion of orders going cross-border seems to be levelling out at around the 25% mark.

Picture 2



The rate of on-time / attempted delivery performed at its most consistent level of above 93% in Q1 2016, as the wider choice (and better communication of) delivery options and increased use of information alerts when goods are in-transit appear to be having a positive impact.

Picture 3



In line with the trend seen in the sales index (where the average basket value was recorded as rising +5% during Q1 2016), the average parcel order value in the delivery index was also up – with March 2016 order values up +21% to reach the highest March figure seen in the history of the delivery index.


One area where we did see a break with trends in previous years was the proportion of volume being sent by specified-day / next-day delivery services in March. At just below 35% of all volume, these services have not been used so much at this time of year since March 2012.

Picture 4












The increase in specified-day / next-day may be due to a combination of increasing shopper confidence in the online delivery offer, as well as greater availability of such options either for free or at negligible cost.


However – shopper needs and expectations constantly outpace what industry offers and the newly-published IMRG Blackbay UK Consumer Home Delivery Review signposts the likely future trends that retailers will need to cater for.

For example – although delivery to home remains by far the preferred first choice for most shoppers, the popularity of click & collect options are on the rise.

Picture 5


In addition, returns has really emerged as a key battleground for providing customers with high quality experiences that meet their requirements. The same review further found that although a steady 80%+ are happy with the overall delivery service they receive – the same cannot be said for returns.

Picture 6


This is clearly an area in which industry has some work to do in order to keep customers satisfied going forward.


Ian Caminsky, CEO of InPost UK, says: “IMRG’s report is clear – online shopping is increasing. Consumer confidence is growing because the purchase and delivery experience can be counted on; it’s reliable, consistent and trackable. Although improving, it’s not seen throughout the whole journey – namely returns and in-store collections. 39% of shoppers are unsatisfied with their return experience due to hassle and unreliability and most stores are not built for online pickups and the sheer volume of returns, which are often 20-30% of purchases. This is a key area of focus moving forward, to ensure that shoppers have consistent and fast access to a range of alternative delivery options, such as lockers, for both collections and returns.”

Find out more:

To discuss the above or any other delivery trends and developments, contact andrew.starkey@imrg.org.

Source: http://imrg.org/imrg-insight

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