Parcel volumes look set to hit record levels this year, as 2015 got off to a strong start for the retail sector.
According to the IMRG/MetaPack UK Delivery Index, parcel volumes from online retail orders grew 9.5% year-on-year in January. This is broadly reinforced by figures for the same period from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which said online retail sales increased by 12%.
The IMRG/MetaPack index is aggregated from a sample of MetaPack’s data-set of retailers, carriers and other suppliers, covering more than 200 retailers and an average of more than 5 million orders in any one month.
Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG, said: “Although this is short of our 13% forecast growth for the full year, the pace of online shopping always picks up in the spring so we expect this figure to increase to match our forecast fairly quickly.”
The ONS figures, although marginally different, do not look at parcel shipments in isolation but at the overall retail picture, instead.
According to the ONS, the amount spent in the retail industry in January 2015 increased by 2.3% compared with January 2014, and fell by 1.0% compared with December 2014.
Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in the retail industry in January 2015 was £6.5 billion, compared with £6.3 billion in January 2014 and £9.0 billion in December 2014.
The value of online sales decreased by 0.2% in January 2015, the ONS said, compared with December 2014 and accounted for 11.6% of all retail sales in January 2015.