UK Consumers report worse delivery experience than US and European’s despite ‘global’ supply chain crisis


As the Office for Budget Responsibility reports that the UK’s supply chain bottlenecks have been exacerbated by Brexit, new research has uncovered that UK consumers report far worse delivery experiences than France, Germany, and the US.

While the crisis is being presented as ‘global’, UK online consumers report disproportionate affects, with nearly two fifths (39%) claiming they had placed an order that never arrived, compared to just 18% in the US, 22% in France, and 23% in Germany.

The research, conducted by Operations Experience Management platform parcelLab, found the British were let down more than Europeans and Americans when it came to online shopping. UK consumers reported widespread delays with 41% of online consumers saying a package did not arrive when they needed it. Just 23% of French online consumers reported a similar experience, while in Germany and the US it was 27% and 29% respectively – still far below the level seen in the UK.

Such unequal shopping experiences in the face of a supposedly global supply chain crisis is testing consumer brand loyalty to the limit, with UK shoppers reporting a greater willingness to punish and demand more of retailers when compared to their European and American counterparts. 35% of UK online consumers who had a negative experience said it made them unwilling to order from that retailer again, compared to 21% in France, 23% in the US, and 25% in Germany. UK online consumers who had a negative experience were also more likely to develop a negative outlook on the both the retailer and delivery service provider following a poor experience, with almost half (49%) of  the same saying they have had to contact customer services to find out where their package is.

This has led to UK consumers demanding more in response to having sub-par delivery experiences. Higher rates of UK consumers (61%) said they wanted retailers to notify them when packages were shipped, while 66% said they would like the retailer to provide regular updates on where the package is and a further 47% wanting the option to view it on a map, while 65% said they would like to have immediate updates if there are any issues and delays.

Tobias Buxhoidt, Founder and CEO of parcelLab, commented: “Consumer expectations are not unreasonable. The pandemic has accelerated trends in e-commerce with online shopping becoming the default option for many, and consumers have come to expect an efficient and reliable delivery experience - this is not currently being delivered, especially in the UK. 

While some delays may be unavoidable, the key for businesses is to ensure the customer is kept at the heart of everything. Clear and transparent communication is of paramount importance so that expectations can be effectively managed. The willingness of UK consumers to punish brands that do not prioritise the customers experience shows just how important it is to provide proactive assistance and consistent communication after the customer has hit that order button – these will be the businesses that will be remembered most and earn the greatest brand loyalty.”

Research methodology:

parcelLab utilised YouGov’s omnibus to survey a representative sample of 2000 UK, American, French and German consumers respectively. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was UK: 2076, Germany: 2184, France: 2048, US: 1163 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7th - 8th October 2021 (UK), 18th – 20th October 2021 (Germany), 14th – 20th October 2021 (France), 19th – 20th August 2021 (US) .  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) across each respective market.

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