The twelve spikes of cyber Christmas

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NetDespatch, the Software as a Service (SaaS) parcel data management platform for parcel carriers including APC Overnight, Royal Mail, Yodel and Collect+ and used by retailers including John Lewis, Shop Group Direct, Amazon and Superdrug, has revealed the online sales statistics collated from its delivery database over the 2014 festive period.

The findings support reports that it was the busiest year on record, for both retailers and carriers.

With issues of late delivery of vital Christmas purchases being well documented in the media, just how busy did it get over the festive period? Here are the Twelve Spikes of Cyber Christmas:

  1. Black Friday (28th November 2014): A year-on-year increase in the number of parcels of 50%[1]
  2. A regular Friday in 2014[2] compared with Black Friday: 68% increase in the number of parcels
  3. Amazon on Black Friday - 5.5m items sold at a rate of 64 per second
  4. Cyber Monday (Monday 1st December 2014): a year-on-year increase in parcel numbers of 34%
  5. A regular Monday in 2014[3] compared to Cyber Monday: 54% increase
  6. Cyber Monday 2014 volumes 31% higher than Black Friday
  7. NetDespatch peaked at 1700 parcels per minute (29 per second) on Cyber Monday
  8. Manic Monday (8th December 2014): A year-on-year increase of almost 25%
  9. A regular Monday in 2014[4] compared to Manic Monday - Up 38%
  10. NetDespatch peaked at 1100 parcels per minute (18.3 per second) on Manic Monday
  11. Post-Christmas parcels: (25th Dec - 1st Jan) Year-on-year increase of almost 31%
  12. First return: First Christmas present returned at 1.53am on Christmas Day, according to Collect+

Industry association for e-retail, IMRG, estimated that a total of 200m parcels would be despatched across November and December, with 120m parcels being despatched in December alone.

Becky Clark, CEO of NetDespatch comments, "Our findings show that the popularity of online shopping, and therefore demand for quick and seamless parcel delivery, was incredibly high at the end of 2014. If retailers are going to successfully manage the peak volumes of their online sales, and keep the cost of despatch and delivery down, they need to ensure they are communicating to consumers the range of delivery options available.

Third party Click & Collect, for example, grew exponentially in popularity in 2014 showing that consumers ARE open to alternative ways of receiving their parcels, when they are made aware of the options. Retailers need to be doing all they can to help educate their customers through awareness.

"The Christmas coverage of delivery issues and company closures shed light on the cost of delivery - both financially and in terms of reputation damage. Using alternative delivery options, such as Click & Collect to a local convenience store means a delivery driver can deliver fifty parcels to a single store, rather than to fifty separate locations. Think about the time and money this could save for everyone involved.

Delivery options should be made crystal clear on retail websites but this is just the start of what retailers should be looking at. The popularity of online shopping is unlikely to drop any time soon, but by promoting alternative delivery options retailers have a better chance of a less chaotic Christmas in 2015."

[1] Since 2013
[2] The Friday used as comparison was Friday 31st October 2014
[3] The Monday used as comparison was Monday 3rd November 2014
[4] The Monday used as comparison was Monday 10th November 2014

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