Thousands of non-essential stores have shuttered once again but couriers and retailers are continuing to deliver to the front door. ParcelHero says stores are far better prepared for the expected 54% boom in home deliveries this time, though networks will be stretched thin as lockdown deliveries clash with Christmas peak.
As Lockdown 2.0 closes Britain’s High Streets for a second time, the UK courier services expert ParcelHero says retailers and home delivery networks are braced for a massive surge in deliveries. ParcelHero says that, unlike the first lockdown, supermarkets, online retailers and their delivery partners are well prepared for the huge surge in demand.
ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT says: ‘Whether they had planned for it or not, Brits are looking at a digital Christmas as far as buying gifts and treats is concerned. Significant shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday land before lockdown is scheduled to end on 2 December.
‘Online orders grew 53% at the height of the first lockdown, and that’s likely to be overtaken this month. In fact, ParcelHero believes that Lockdown 2.0 ensures home shopping will grow by 54.97% this month YOY, which means online will overtake buying in store for the first time this Christmas. Our research shows that Brits will spend a record £39.41bn online, narrowly eclipsing High Street sales.
‘It’s true that many retailers’ home delivery services didn’t cover themselves in glory at the beginning of the first lockdown. Ocado, for example, was forced to close for several days while it caught up with orders. The recruitment site Indeed reported a surge of 1,508 new delivery driver vacancies in just two days between 18-20 March.
‘This time around, however, things are expected to go a lot smoother. Everyone is far more familiar with the new Covid delivery protocols. Distanced delivery routines – such as drivers leaving parcels on front doorsteps and perhaps photographing people taking their deliveries, rather than physically signing pads – are now commonplace. Home deliveries have grown so familiar that 10% of shoppers now know the names of their delivery drivers, although Christmas peak deliveries mean drivers won’t have much time to chat during Lockdown 2.0.
‘This time, we believe that the key sector of grocery retailers will be far better able to cope. Since the first lockdown, Marks & Spencer has teamed up with Ocado to offer a hugely increased home delivery capacity. Waitrose is already coping well with a 20% capacity increase. Sainsbury’s has increased its online order capacity from 340,000 a week in March to 700,000 this month. Deliveroo, now partly owned by Amazon thanks to an emergency lockdown deal, is hiring 15,000 new riders. Tesco has already taken on 16,000 more pickers and drivers.
‘In addition, delivery networks and retailers are set to cope well with surging gift deliveries during the Christmas countdown. Amazon has created 20,000 seasonal and permanent positions, Yodel 2,950 new jobs for Christmas peak, Hermes and DHL have both created 10,000 new jobs and the list goes on.
‘Shoppers must not forget Click & Collect. Parcel pick-up services have mushroomed by 32% this year. Don’t forget that, unlike the first lockdown, the Government is permitting non-essential stores to stay open for collections. The Government’s new lockdown rules also specifically state, “You can leave home to buy things at shops which are open… or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect.”
‘Of course, most people will be trying to remain safely at home where possible. That’s why having a courier come to homes to pick up gifts and essentials being sent to loved ones is vital during the second lockdown. ParcelHero’s peak time is usually Christmas but, as more and more people need to compare courier pick-up prices and times, we’ve been breaking our own records every month since March.
‘Anyone wishing to send a parcel during lockdown should consult our new Christmas page to find out all the quality services picking up from their door. You can also check all major stores’ final online ordering dates before Christmas. We recommend everyone shops and sends early this Christmas to avoid the peak Covid Christmas surge.