Peak Bulletin 2022

Gauging the Pulse of eCommerce Delivery

Issue #2

The Peak Bulletin puts together 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.

Go on to find out what the crucial Black Friday weekend meant for retailers and carriers over Week 47.


GFS data perspective on parcel volumes and delivery performance across the industry

Calling the trading conditions for this Black Friday “challenging” might be an understatement, but it has dodged the bullet of being a catastrophe.


Data on parcel volumes — are numbers up to or above expectations and industry forecasts, or have they caved under the excruciating uncertainties of 2022?

Week 47 volume increased by over 20% versus Week 46, and this increase is exactly in line with the week-on-week growth seen in 2021. While volume was higher at the start of the week, the day of Black Friday itself was flatter than previous years; potentially a result of promotions going live much earlier.

Weekend volume was up once again, seeing an increase of 40% versus Saturday and Sunday from the previous week. This could be due to some volume held over for despatching over the weekend, as some retailers closed earlier than usual on Friday for staff to watch the England vs USA FIFA World Cup game.

Overall, while there are fluctuations in the forecast volume by day, volumes across the week are in line with the latest forecasts.


The “mood” of digital shoppers this week and how it’s driving performance metrics across product categories.

Shoppers have clearly defied the cost-of-living crisis to leverage Black Friday deals. It is possible shoppers have cut back on luxury purchases, to focus on more essential purchases available on promotion.

We’ll share more updates in the week as retailers lock in final numbers from Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.


The pressure is ON for parcel deliveries — how are carriers faring in the race to the customer’s doorstep?

Collection service remains strong, with parcels being processed in good time and no reported issues from Hub networks.

There is an indication that some carriers are facing some service challenges in postcode pockets across the Depot networks, although this is a small proportion of the total parcel volumes being processed so no glaring concerns there.

Also to note, CWU strike action will go ahead as planned on Wednesday, 30th November and Thursday, 1st December 2022, which will put further pressure on retailers shipping with Royal Mail to switch volume to other carriers to maintain commitments to customers.


Industry Commentary in Association with IMRG

Before November, there was a question as to whether retailers would launch their Black Friday campaigns earlier and run them for longer this year.

The answer to that has proven a definitive yes, but we have also seen greater levels of participation generally. On the Monday leading into Black Friday week, the number of retailers with a live campaign was higher than from the day of Black Friday in 2021.

Does that mean, therefore, with more deals about, that we have seen a stronger response from customers in taking advantage of them?

Across Black Friday week, we get the sales figures daily from participants in our index (as opposed to the usual weekly updates). While we are still processing the results from Black Friday and over the weekend, the days we do have results for have been very up and down. In previous years, it has been far more consistent; if sales start off well, it tends to be a good indicator for the rest of the week.

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director, IMRG


We ask the questions we’d like answered this week

Volume is expected to increase further in the next two weeks, which have in more recent years been the highest two weeks of the year. But what will this mean for retailers who are scrabbling to build contingency due to Royal Mail strikes?

Whilst we await conclusive Black Friday results, according to IMRG all outcomes remain possible at this point. Did demand get carried over the weekend, or have the early campaigns served to pull volume forward from it?

Sign Up Now

Get the weekly GFS Peak Bulletin to have your finger on the pulse of Peak!