Delivery companies, Hermes and CitySprint, enjoy busy festive period

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Consumer delivery company, Hermes, reports it has had its busiest peak period to date as the predicted rise in online shopping continues. However it reported volumes were steady throughout December compared to previous year, with consumers choosing not to leave it until the last minute.

Meanwhile, same day distribution company, CitySprint, says its delivery figures for November and December 2013 show the festive delivery peak has edged even closer to Christmas Day.

CitySprint revealed Christmas retail deliveries peaked on 19 December 2013, compared to 18 December in 2012. The figures also showed many shoppers left it late with orders remaining high late on Christmas Eve. CitySprint said its network even delivered several gifts on Christmas Day and made hundreds of retail deliveries on Boxing Day as shoppers took advantage of the sales.

Gary Winter, sales & marketing director at Hermes, said: “For the past few years we have seen consumers leaving it later and later to send Christmas gifts which has been a big challenge for delivery companies. However, this year that didn’t happen, possibly because a number of retailers started their sales earlier than usual and also because consumers are becoming more aware of how things like bad weather can hamper delivery.”
In December Hermes said it experienced its highest volume period at 21m parcels – an overall increase of 14% on the previous year – delivering for leading retail customers including Debenhams, John Lewis, Next and ASOS. In one night alone it said it handled a record 1m parcels.

Winter said: “We started our preparation for peak back in February 2013 and have invested heavily in our infrastructure and customer service teams to ensure that we would be ready to support our customers.

“This year we also offered our existing customers a unique money back guarantee which meant every parcel that entered the Hermes network, with a UK mainland address, by 23.59 on Friday 20 December 2013 would be delivered in time for Christmas – with a minimum of one delivery attempt.

“This was designed to provide peace of mind for retailers and their customers during the Christmas peak period and also help avoid a last minute rush.

“All of these measures paid off for us and our customers as we achieved high levels of service throughout this difficult period with 98% first time delivery for our standard service – up 2.6% on last year.”

Hermes said the myHermes delivery solution, which is ordered online with items collected by courier direct from the door, handled over 1m parcels in December 2013, an increase 170% on the previous year. This service continues to be popular with businesses using auction sites, marketplaces and other internet sales as well as consumers, said Hermes. The myHermes Parcelshop network, which now totals 3,000 outlets, handled over half a million parcels – an increase of 200% on last year.
In total, CitySprint handled almost half a million retail deliveries in November and December 2013, as more people moved online to do their festive shopping and took advantage of later cut-offs for delivery in time for Christmas. And with an estimated basket value of £50 for each retail delivery, this represents around £25m in online retail sales delivered over the two months.

Patrick Gallagher, CEO, CitySprint, said: “This Christmas we saw many retailers responding to customer demand for more flexibility and convenience by offering later cut-offs, evening and same day deliveries which ran all the way until Christmas. As consumers put their faith in retailers and distributors, it’s no surprise that our peak day edged even closer to Christmas.

“We put a lot of time and planning into this Christmas period and, despite the poor weather in many parts of the country, we are delighted that we’ve had another very successful festive season.”