Parcel volumes from online retail orders grew 9.5% year-on-year in January, according to the IMRG Metapack UK Delivery Index.

Although this is below the 13% forecast for the year it is well up on the growth seen in January last year (3.8%), and IMRG and Metapack still anticipate that the number of parcels dispatched by UK retailers through UK carriers is likely to breach the 1 billion mark by the end of 2015.

The established trend in January is for a sharp drop in order volumes with month-on-month growth down 33%, which is only marginally greater than the month-on-month fall seen in January 2014 (32%). These figures also broadly mirror the trend reported in the recent IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index results (see more).

The Index further recorded a rise in average order values and delivery quality of service.

Andrew Starkey, Head of e-logistics at IMRG: “Although this is short of our 13% forecast growth for the full year, the pace of online shopping always picks in the spring so we expect this figure to increase to match our forecast fairly quickly. It is pleasing to see that after the trauma of Black Friday, the UK carrier industry has recovered quickly and the level of on time delivery / attempted delivery at 92.5% is at its highest January level since 2012.”

Angela O’Connell, Strategy and Marketing Director, Metapack, said: “The story of January 2015 is how UK retailers and carriers are continuing to cooperate ever more closely to sustain the successful rebound from the challenges of early December. A year on year January increase in parcels dispatched is a great way to begin a year when we expect more innovation in delivery choices to enable the growth we and the IMRG are forecasting.”