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Record use of next-day services for online orders in May

The use of next-day and specified-day services for online orders hit record levels in May, accounting for 37% of UK delivered orders, data from online retail association IMRG shows.

Online retail parcel delivery order volumes were up 14.8% year-on-year in May, according to the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index.

This uplift is in line with many other indicators of retail performance in May, when multiple factors – including the royal wedding and hot weather – appear to have driven shoppers to spend both online and in the high street.

The percentage of orders using fast fulfilment options such as next-day delivery reached a high in May – combined with strong volume growth – is likely to be a chief cause of a drop in on-time delivery performance, which reached its lowest May level in the history of the Index (88%).

This is also the first time the percentage of deliveries arriving on-time has dipped beneath 90% in May. Average basket values also went up by £62 in May, a year-on-year increase of 14%.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG: “[We] have carried out shopper surveys every year for the past nine years and what’s interesting about the move toward faster fulfilment is that customers haven’t really been asking for it – these studies have consistently found that two days is still perfectly acceptable.

“As technology and processes have evolved however, industry has come to view it as a potential differentiator in acquiring and retaining customers and their expectations are changing in line with that over time.”

He added: “A lingering question is whether they always know they are getting next-day; some orders are sent on premium services because customers require it and are prepared to pay for them, but many are not requested. How many ‘genuine’ next-day deliveries fail and how many orders are being delivered next-day when the customer does not actually expect them?”

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