Irish carrier the Nightline Group has recorded 30% growth in parcel volumes this year, citing the Republic’s booming ecommerce sector, increased interest in cross-border shopping, and favourable exchange rates as key reasons for its success.
A significant proportion were generated by orders placed by Irish consumers shopping with UK-based retailers, the carrier said.
Group CEO and co-founder, John Tuohy, said: “Greater parity between the Euro and Sterling, coupled with the way that we can tackle the high cost of direct shipping between the UK and Ireland, has made it an even more attractive form of shopping for consumers.”
“It’s been a tremendous year with an increase in parcel traffic not merely confined to the pre-Christmas peak but spread across the year.
Nightline handles around 1.2 million parcels per month, and expects that to almost double in the final weeks before Christmas.
Earlier this year, Ireland starting using postcodes for the first time, which although not without criticism, is a move that will help modernise the country’s delivery sector and tackle the widespread problem of non-unique addresses.
In September Nightline opened a new €2m warehouse facility in the north of Dublin. The company employs more than 800 people and has a network of 11 depots.
Tuohy continued: “Over the last 12 months, we have become the carrier partner of choice for more UK retailers selling to Irish shoppers and, in turn, they have made great strides in terms of sales to the Republic.”
Ireland is Western Europe’s fourth largest e-commerce market with €5.3bn worth of sales in 2014, and is growing at around 25% year-on-year.
The most up-to-date figures for the UK ecommerce sector are expected to show growth of around 15% year-on-year, broadly in line with predictions made at the start of the year. Some of this will be due to the cyber week period where overall volumes were up around 36% in the UK, according to IMRG.
Although just one week out of 52, some carriers recorded increases in volumes way ahead of the market, such as Hermes which saw retail and myHermes order volumes grow by 50% on Black Friday itself. Doddle is another provider to have benefitted, seeing an increase of 122% in volumes into its stores the day after Black Friday.
Yodel, the UK’s second largest carrier, reported it had seen parcel volumes into its network grow just 1%, when comparing cyber week 2015 with the same period in 2014, but said it had avoided a repeat of last year’s troubles – which saw 600,000 unexpected items cause a dramatic collection hiatus. This was partly due to its decision to cap next-day Black Friday parcel volumes, the carrier said.