The home delivery expert ParcelHero says online retailers and couriers are experiencing a 17% surge in late gift deliveries to save Christmas. The rise comes as shoppers deserted the High Street last weekend in the face of the Omicron surge.
ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, David Jinks, says: “The arrival of Omicron is nightmare timing for High Street retailers, with the retail analyst Springboard revealing a 25% plummet in the number of visitors to the High Street on Sunday, compared to the last Sunday before Christmas in 2019. It’s heartbreaking. Things had been looking so rosy for town centre stores this season, with a 10.8% rise in the value of sales as recently as last month.
“Monday’s deliveries look around 17% up on anticipated volumes. The reason for the late surge is not hard to see. Many shoppers have fled the High Street to safely order their final presents at home.
“A shortage of truck drivers after Brexit, plus long delays at UK ports, have already had an impact on home deliveries. That’s now being compounded by growing Omicron-related illness and absence at distribution centres. Even so, we expect online stores and couriers will meet the challenge, providing shoppers don’t leave things until the 23rd.
“With family get-togethers being discouraged by some health experts and mandatory curbs on household mixing now under consideration, many people have also made the decision to send their gifts to friends and family by courier, rather than deliver them in person. Many senders are booking pickups from home to avoid Post Office queues. This all adds to the flurry of last-minute deliveries being handled by the networks.
“The result of all these changes in the last few days before Christmas means substantially more home deliveries than was forecast even just two weeks ago. So far, none of the main UK couriers are reporting very significant delays to parcel deliveries, but many stores have sensibly cancelled next-day options and have brought forward their final order dates. That’s why our continually updated Christmas deadlines tool is so useful for keeping shoppers in the know with all their favourite retailers’ final order dates. To check the easy-to-use retailers’ final order and final mailing dates tool, see: https://www.parcelhero.com/events/christmas-gifts-delivery.”