UK, November 2021: It has been reported that the UK is set to experience a shortage of popular Christmas gifts, food, and decorations this year, as many delivery companies struggle to keep pace with an early demand for supplies.
With empty shelves becoming increasingly prevalent in shops and supermarkets combined, worried Brits are turning to online retailers for all of their festive essentials, rushing to snap up the basics ahead of Christmas Day.
In the first five days of October this year, one such marketplace, OnBuy.com, received more Christmas-related searches than the entirety of October 20201, with consumers anxiously preparing for the uncertain months ahead. In fact, ‘Christmas trees’, ‘wreaths’, ‘baubles’, and ‘garlands’ were just some of the search terms to experience comparative annual growth.
Advent calendars have seen perhaps the most dramatic surge in searches, with five times the number of site users browsing for their favourite brands than this time last year2. As one of the most popular festive accessories on the market, this comes as no surprise, especially with news of scarcities on the horizon.
Statistics like these could prove to be challenging for delivery companies across the coming weeks, as a lack of HGV drivers and intensified schedules are set to cause delays. Yet, despite the nation’s fears, many businesses are already pre-empting the impact of heightened demand, taking steps to ensure safe parcel delivery throughout the busy period.
For the majority of OnBuy’s trusted delivery partners, this forward-planning was to be expected. Data from global delivery company, Fedex, detailed a 10.7% rise on the already-sizable ecommerce delivery volumes witnessed at the height of Covid-193, meaning that they, along with many other companies, clearly recognise the importance of organising peak transportation. To help prepare for the months ahead, Fedex have increased their transport budgets to cover costs in the volatile market, and are ensuring correct staffing levels to help guarantee efficiency and reliability at all levels.
Logistics experts, ShipStation are likewise taking steps to safeguard the festive season this year, by helping customers integrate into multiple carriers at once. “There’s no one-size-fits-all for deliveries when dealing with the various product sizes and values available online, and so having different options is key to getting it right this Christmas”, said Andrew Norman, Managing Director of ShipStation International. “Increased expectations from consumers, around deliveries and delivery times, also plays a part, and by having a choice of carrier, it means you can easily adapt to any changes to the landscape.
“Having integrations with multiple carriers through the holidays has become more and more crucial, and is the best way to make sure that your customers are getting the service levels they expect when doing their shopping online”.
OnBuy, who connect consumers with more than 10,000 retailers online, have urged shoppers to avoid panicking in the coming weeks. “As a result of a couple of turbulent years, we recognise that there are new challenges to the retail sector that we have not experienced before”, said Mark Lister, Chief Commercial Officer at OnBuy. “To help alleviate additional pressure on supply chains and carrier networks this Christmas, it’s advised to shop a little smarter this year. Planning ahead and following the advice of the logistics companies will help to avoid disappointment.
“With such a wide variety of products available on OnBuy, customers can rest assured that there are plenty of options from major brands and chart-topping gifts for the season.
“So as long as consumers recognise that we are not yet fully back to normal this Christmas, there should be no reason that we do not see a fruitful festive season for all”.
Though we may be entering unprecedented ground, with economic, health, and supply concerns at play, it’s comforting to know that many delivery companies are keen to allay our fears in the lead-up to Christmas. Indeed, in being so receptive to the potential crises we face, their measures are helping to safeguard the arrival of precious parcels this season, as well as the health and wellbeing of countless employees in their care.