Deliveries slacken in August as holiday season peaks

LONDON UK - 26 September, 2018: Online retail parcel delivery order volumes were up +10.3% year-on-year in August, according to the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index. As we move into the close of summer, order volumes in the index typically fall away. In August this year, order volumes dipped -7.5% on July – slightly higher than the dip last year, but common as UK shoppers head off on their holidays.

The percentage of orders using next-day delivery continued to increase, accounting for 56% of orders delivered in the UK during August, up from 52% at the same time the previous year and a record for this time of year. In tandem with this, the volume of economy deliveries has dropped -4 percentage points, down to 41.4% and, while next-day volumes continue to rise, the rate of successful on-time deliveries was recorded at 89%; a welcome improvement on last August’s 85%, but still lagging well behind the 2016 rate of 94%.

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Andrew Starkey, Head of e-Logistics, IMRG: “The first half of 2018 provided a steady growth picture for online delivery volumes and, while we tend to track a slowdown in volumes over summer, this is expected and we are still on course for our target 13% year-on-year growth for the full year. Of the 1.5bn parcels this will generate, about a quarter will be sent in November and December and so preparations for peak are in full flow. Over the next few months we must hope that the record average basket values we have seen so far this year are sustained. Also, for an improvement in on-time delivery performance which, although recovering a little this month, still gives cause for concern.

The EU is still the dominant destination for UK cross-border deliveries, accounting for 61% of all UK exports. Of these, Ireland, Germany and France continue to receive the highest volume of UK goods, with proximity likely being the cause. Elsewhere in the world it is the English-speaking markets of the US and Australia that remain most popular for UK retailers.

Maria Dahlquist Canton, Global Marketing Director, MetaPack: “Given the challenges that the retail industry is facing at the moment with store closures and profit warnings, it is reassuring to see that online order volumes are holding up well and are in line with forecast. eCommerce is thriving, but clearly retailers are using a variety of delivery offers to attract and hold on to customers, which accounts for the growth in availability of next day delivery options. In the run up to Peak, we will be keeping a close eye on how these orders are fulfilled.”


About the ‘IMRG Metapack UK Delivery Index’

The IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index has been designed to enable the e-retail industry to track a wide range of key benchmark metrics to enable organisations to benchmark performance, track trends and inform strategic decisions.

The information presented is aggregated from a consistent sample of MetaPack's extensive dataset so all retailers, carriers and other suppliers remain completely anonymous. While it is not possible to confirm whether the data is entirely representative of all retail sectors, by covering in excess of 200 retailers and an average of more than 5 million orders in any one month, we consider it to be a valid and highly reliable source.

About IMRG 

For over 20 years, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) has been the voice of e-retail in the UK. We are a membership community comprising businesses of all sizes – multichannel and pureplay, SME and multinational, and solution providers to industry. 

We support our members through a range of activities – including market tracking and insight, benchmarking and best practice sharing. Our indexes provide in-depth intelligence on online sales, mobile sales, delivery trends and over 40 additional KPIs. 

Our goal is to ensure our members have the information and resources they need to succeed in rapidly-evolving markets – both domestically and internationally.

About MetaPack

Founded in 1999, the MetaPack Group provides eCommerce and multi-channel delivery technology to leading retailers. MetaPack's highly configurable platform looks after the customer delivery experience generating consumer trust and loyalty. The software connects shippers with parcel carriers, as well as a wide range of alternative delivery, collection and returns services. For more information, visit

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