UK courier market surges as e-shopping booms - Mintel
The importance of the online retail channel to the UK has become very clear from a new Mintel report that shows Britons sent 2.8 billion packages in 2016 and the market for courier and express delivery hit £10.1 billion last year.
The research firm said Britain is busier than ever taking parcel deliveries by courier and express delivery with sales in this area rising by £1 billion last year alone. Overall, 87% of Britons have sent or received a parcel in the last six months.
The number of parcels being delivered has risen 65% in a four-year period, up from 1.7 billion in 2012. And while the number of items delivered has soared, this has driven a boom in the value of the courier and express delivery market, increasing by 63% from £6.2 billion in 2012 to £10.1 billion in 2016.
While that fact may not be of interest to many fashion consumers, the money-making potential in the courier sector means there will be more companies competing for business and offering more flexible solutions for shoppers to get their goods faster, which can only be good news both for shoppers and for stores seeking delivery speed and flexibility.
And that’s a key fact as the Mintel report also said that speed is of the essence. The number one complaint for users of courier services is a long waiting time for parcels to be delivered. One in six (15%) users have had to wait a long time for a parcel to be delivered in the past six months, rising to 30% of those aged 16-24, possibly because the younger age group is selecting cheaper delivery options in order to keep costs down.
The courier market is forecast to grow by 22% to reach £13.2 billion in 2021, with market volumes expected to increase by 33% to reach four billion packages in the same time period.
British online retail sales are expected to grow by 55.3% over this same five-year period to reach £81.94 billion, with the two heavily dependent on each other.
Marco Amasanti, B2B Analyst at Mintel said the key to parcels growth is that consumers are migrating online in all areas of their lives but that retail is the key activity that’s becoming more digital.
“As online channels continue to increase their grip across retailing, the industry is only expected to grow further as supply strives to match surging demand,” he said.
“Money previously spent in [physical] retail stores is now increasingly spent online, boosting business-to-consumer delivery demand not only through the initial purchase, but also through the return of goods bought online. The business-to-consumer sector, underlined by the rise in e-commerce will be key to future growth.”
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When it comes to delivery, growth has been driven in the market due to consumers wanting their parcels and packages as soon as they have been ordered, Mintel said, with that statistic about unhappiness when forced to wait underlining this trend. The value of next day deliveries reached £5.5 billion in 2016, up from £3.1 billion in 2012. While same-day deliveries have risen from £488 million in 2012 to £1 billion in 2016.
But while a long wait time tops consumer dissatisfaction with the courier marketplace, this is closely followed by a parcel being left in an unsafe place (13%) and the parcel not being delivered in the agreed delivery slot (11%). One in 10 (10%) users has experienced a parcel being lost in the post, while slightly less (8%) have suffered damage to the contents of the parcel.
Around six in 10 (59%) users of couriers have not experienced issues with parcels and delivery services in the last six months.
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