e-commerce boom

The E-commerce Boom and The Impact It’s Having on Couriers

Did you know that e-commerce accounts for more than a quarter of all retail sales in the UK?

Yes, we are fast becoming a nation of online buyers.

It won’t come as a surprise to hear that COVID 19 and its associated lockdowns have had a massive impact on our growing e-commerce addiction. Being forced to remain at home meant we turned to online shopping in droves. Four in ten Brits have done more online shopping since the pandemic. Even when High Street stores opened their doors for business once more, many of the population continued to shop online, preferring that to physical shopping.

In fact, it was forecasted that UK consumers would spend £141.33 billion online in 2021, up a massive 34.7% from 2019. This significant increase will see e-commerce account for more than 30% of total retail sales in the UK for the first time. In 2019, that share stood at just 21.8%.

Our newfound click-happiness is having an impact on the courier industry. According to research by Mintel, the demand for courier services had increased by a total of 44% between 2014 and 2019, from £7.6 billion to £11 billion. By the end of the year, we can expect the courier and delivery market to reach a whopping £13.5 billion.

New buying habits fire the e-commerce boom

Increasingly busy lives are also having an impact on online sales. But it’s not just time-poor workers who are buying online. Mintel’s research showed that 37% over over-65s had increased the amount of online shopping they do since the outbreak.

Existing e-commerce customers are increasing the frequency of online purchases, and new customers are buying online for the first time as they discover how convenient it is.

One case in point is Tesco. Although consumers have long preferred to judge the quality and freshness of the groceries they buy in person, many are now getting used to the convenience of food delivery. During the pandemic, Tesco’s UK digital sales surged 77%.

This growing confidence in online shopping was echoed in other areas when non-essential stores were forced to close against Covid-19. Many customers turned online rather than venture out even to essential stores during the pandemic:

    • Online household goods sales grew by 73.9%
    • Online department store sales were 65.9% ahead
    • Other stores, such as electrical retailers to jewellers, bookshops, and toyshops, saw their online sales grow by 73.4%


Of course, all these additional online sales have to be delivered, which has a knock-on effect on the logistics industry.

The impact on the courier industry

The boom in sales on e-commerce sites means that the courier services industry is seeing a surge in B2C deliveries. The knock-on of this is that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of deliveries per day.

The relationship between the courier service and customer has also changed with people expecting faster delivery times. This means the courier industry must deliver a more significant number of deliveries within a smaller amount of time.

Therefore, when running an e-commerce business, you must find a reliable delivery service.

Finding the right courier company

One of the fundamental things you need to get right with your e-commerce business is delivery.

Have you noticed how demanding your customers are becoming? Thanks to the “Amazon effect”, customer’s needs have changed dramatically. Now they want a fast, reliable delivery service.

When looking for a courier company to partner with, don’t just look at the cost. You need to find one that’s affordable and reliable if you want to keep your customers happy. They will be the main physical link between your business and your customers, so you need to find one that:

  • Puts customer priorities first
  • Suits your product
  • Focuses on customer care

Make sure you do your homework. Investing time and research into finding the right courier service for your business will help you maintain and potentially enhance the reputation of your business.

Smart Directions offer a range of delivery and logistics options. Their commitment to accountability, service and customer support gives their customers peace of mind. Call the team on 01442 507 240.

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