Peak Bulletin 2022
Gauging the Pulse of eCommerce Delivery
We are back with another edition of the Peak Bulletin that’s put together each year with unique insights on carrier updates, industry happenings and parcel volumes based on GFS proprietary data.
This year, we’ve taken it up a notch to share a wider perspective on what’s happening across the industry with guest commentary and proprietary data from IMRG, UK’s leading authority and largest eCommerce membership community.
Presenting our very first issue for Peak 2022.
GFS data perspective on parcel volumes and delivery performance across the industry
Several leading retailers launched Black Friday event sales last week in time for the weekend. How did it play out last week?
VOLUMES: PUMPED UP OR TONED DOWN?
Data on parcel volumes — are numbers up to or above expectations and industry forecasts, or have they caved under the excruciating uncertainties of 2022?
The early commencement has helped to drive volumes and we’re seeing this in the results, with Week 46 raking in the highest volumes of 2022. As compared to the previous week, overall volume is up 10%, while weekend volume has also seen strong growth of 20%+ versus Saturday and Sunday of the previous week.
However, overall parcel volumes are currently tracking below forecast by 10%.
The “mood” of digital shoppers this week and how it’s driving performance metrics across product categories.
So far, there is good growth is across the fashion sector with a majority of leading retailers now promoting Black Friday sales discounts, and several offering over 25% discounts.
Overall, feedback from many eCommerce retailers is that they’re expecting Peak to run very late this year with the anticipation that a large number of shoppers will hold out until the final week before Christmas. However, retailers do not want to lose out on volume across Black Friday week, which might still provide the same frenzy as ever.
The pressure is ON for parcel deliveries — how are carriers faring in the race to the customer’s doorstep?
Standard services are busy due to the impact of Royal Mail strike action and increased demand for low-cost delivery options from consumers.
Significant operational challenges are expected this week for retailers who use Royal Mail as they navigate around the impact of the planned strike action on Thursday and Black Friday.
Carriers have now locked in trailer plans for this week with the focus now directed towards protecting network service performance through the Black Friday weekend.
Industry Commentary in Association with IMRG
Black Friday has started very early this year; IMRG are tracking 305 retailers every day to monitor whether they have launched their campaigns yet and, if so, what their nature is.
The number of live Black Friday campaigns has doubled in the first two weeks of November. The participating retailers primarily fall into these categories:
Sales performance has been mixed. While beauty and home retailers seem to have had some success, clothing has been more muted, and electricals is yet to find positive growth despite several large retailers pushing TVs heavily as part of World Cup promotions.
The online retail market has been constrained for a large part of the year, but the second week of November did see an increase in sales of +0.9% probably due to campaigns going so early.
Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG
SIT TIGHT AND WATCH
We ask the questions we’d like answered this week
IMRG is forecasting volume to be -5% down this year. So, is the increase in volume being seen in early November simply a “pull forward” from Black Friday week that will correct itself in the course of the season? Or can we be optimistic about volumes for the remaining season?
And, will FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 disrupt Peak and impact sales and parcel volumes? So far the World Cup has taken a back seat to Christmas in retailers’ promotions. Let’s see if that changes as England kick off their matches this week.