Key highlights:

  • Online retail continues bounce back with order volumes dispatched by UK retailers showing cumulative year-on-year growth of 20%
  • Steady climb in order volumes reinforces forecast of 120 million orders in December 2014 alone
  • August sees quality of service improve and more consumers choosing specified/next day deliveries

London, UK, 6th October 2014 – The latest August IMRG Metapack Delivery Index confirms that UK retailers are on course to dispatch a record 900 million orders or 930 million parcels in 2014 with 120 million orders in December alone.

The predicted lull in online retail did occur in August with orders down 13.6% month-on-month. However, this still represents a cumulative growth rate year-on-year of 20%. Based on past e-retail delivery patterns, order volumes are expected to increase by 10% and steadily grow in the run-up to Christmas.

Andrew Starkey, Head of e-Logistics for IMRG said “With three years of data in the Index we can now predict the annual pattern of when and where these deliveries will be made. This means we can confidently anticipate that a record 120 million orders will be dispatched by UK retailers in December alone.”

The Index also revealed that delivery service performance improved during August with close to 94% of deliveries on time which is higher compared to the same period for the last two years. Overall the proportion of orders either late or not delivered at the first attempt was 10.72% in August compared to the monthly average of 11.6% over the last 12 months.

Andrew added: “Quality of service is higher this August than in the previous two years which bodes well for the peak period. Some delivery problems relating to address queries seem to be on the rise so retailers need to keep an eye on this.”

A further indication that delivery services are evolving in the UK is the rise in the number of consumers choosing next day/specified day deliveries during the month of August 2014. While economy options remain the most popular, next day/specified day represented 28% of all dispatched orders and 3% of these were weekend deliveries. By comparison, the proportion of next day/specified orders fell to a low of 19% of all orders in 2013.

Angela O’Connell, Marketing and Strategy Director, Metapack commented:”The revival in premium delivery services will have been driven by many factors.  It does suggest that consumers are feeling more comfortable in making last minute purchasing decisions, knowing they can trust retailers to make next day deliveries successfully.  Giving customers more choice and freedom on deliveries will underpin how well the industry handles the pressures of the Christmas peak. It seems that August was a dry run for these alternatives and unsurprisingly shoppers have seized the opportunity to take greater control, supporting further investment in Sunday delivery and click and collect services.”

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 220 retailers and an average of more than 4.5 million orders in any one month, we consider it to be a valid and highly reliable source.

About IMRG

IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the UK’s industry association for e-retail. Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-retail standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. For more information, visit

About Metapack

Founded in 1999, Metapack’s mission is to make eCommerce delivery more cost effective, convenient and enjoyable by offering greater flexibility and choice to consumers and making it easier for retailers to provide exceptional delivery services. Metapack’s highly configurable SaaS platform connects shippers with parcel carriers, as well as a wide range of alternative delivery, collection and returns services to enable businesses to gain a holistic view of all delivery operations.

Backed by Index Ventures and former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy, the Metapack Group works with 80% of the UK’s leading retailers, including Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, House of Fraser, ASOS and B&Q. In September 2014 the company was featured in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 list of fastest growing British companies and announced the acquisition of US shipping vendor ABOL Software.