Most Brits now expect same-day delivery, claims ParcelHero

News, Retail
Image: Parcelforce Worldwide

There has been a big change in the way shoppers view same-day deliveries. New research from the home delivery expert ParcelHero shows over half of online shoppers now believe same-day delivery options are important. As recently as 2020, it was just 33%.

The pandemic forced many people to shop regularly online for the first time. In February 2020, online sales took just 19% of the overall retail market. Today they average 30% of all sales. As a result, shoppers’ expectations of online sellers have changed dramatically.

The results of ParcelHero’s latest consumers’ survey reveal that people increasingly want to see all their favourite stores offering the same delivery options as Amazon Prime. Significantly, 56% now think same-day delivery options are important (up from 33% in 2020), 62% expect next-day delivery options (up from 44% in 2020) and 55% want specific, 2-hour time slots (up from 44% in 2020).

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks, says:

‘This is a dramatic rise in online customers’ expectations. Prior to the pandemic, most online purchases were for non-essential items such as entertainment products and electronics. Over the last two years, online buyers have become wary of the High Street and out-of-town shopping malls.

“Many have switched to ordering household essentials such as groceries online, with same-day delivery options increasingly popular. Consumers now want to have all their shopping – luxury items as well as household essentials – delivered on the same day.

However, the problem for most retailers is that same-day deliveries are vastly more expensive to fulfil than next-day services. Although 64% of shoppers said they are willing to pay more for same-day deliveries, it’s unlikely this would cover the upfront cost of the huge changes in supply chains and distribution centres needed.

This newfound need for speed could also come at a heavy price for the environment as well as retailers. In 2020, 74% of respondents said they were happy to wait longer for purchases if it meant the delivery method was more sustainable. In its latest survey, only 61% of purchasers were willing to wait longer for greener deliveries.

Adds David Jinks:

“Understandably, home shoppers now expect faster services with increased options as they spend more time on e-commerce specialist sites such as Amazon. Who can blame them? But the transformation in same-day delivery expectations could be bad news for smaller store chains that don’t have distribution centres spread across the country.

“The UK was a pioneer in next-day deliveries. Most orders throughout our relatively small country can be fulfilled within one working day. However, there is a vast difference between the infrastructure needed for same-day deliveries than for next-day.”

To make same-day delivery economically viable, Jinks claims, firms need high and consistent volumes of daily orders within a reasonable radius of their distribution hub. Having vans travel miles to deliver just one or two items to a particular area isn’t viable. For many retailers, that means fulfilling their orders is impossible.

While Amazon met the challenge by building its own delivery network, Amazon Logistics, and constructing distribution centres across the country it’s not something most stores can do.

To discover how retailers can adapt their existing infrastructure to meet changing customer expectations, see ParcelHero’s new study at:

Chris Price
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