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Flexible delivery key for retailers as online sales set to rise by 19% to £5bn

25 November 2013

  • Online sales to hit £5bn this Christmas (19% increase year-on-year);
  • Retailers prepare with an estimated 20,000 click-and-collect points across the UK;
  • Total Christmas retail sales to increase by 3.5% (£40.3bn).

An estimated 20,000 click-and-collect points across the UK are braced for a busy month as online sales are set to hit £5bn this Christmas, according to Deloitte. This is a 19% year-on-year increase as the popularity of online shopping continues to rise.

Deloitte also forecasts a 3.5% increase in the value of total Christmas retail sales, taking the sum consumers plan to spend this Christmas to £40.3bn. Homeware and department stores and are set to do well, and if the cold snap continues, clothing stores will also receive a boost. Food is likely to remain competitive, while electrical retailers will be hoping new tablets and games consoles will lift sales.

Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, said: “The forecast will provide some Christmas cheer for retailers. Shoppers are expected to loosen purse strings off the back of rising consumer confidence and improving economic conditions. Flexible delivery could be this year’s battlefield.

“After last year’s click-and-collect Christmas, consumers’ expectations around flexible delivery over the coming festive period are higher than ever before. Store collection is now seen as a basic offering and those retailers without this capability will struggle to convert online sales and lose resulting footfall in-store.

“This year, the consumer will be challenging retailers’ ability to deliver a sofa at home in a specified time-slot; transfer a party dress to their local store for same day collection and drop off their Christmas DVDs at a convenient locker.”

Recent Deloitte research found that 47% of UK consumers think empty high street stores would make convenient collection points to pick up goods ordered on the internet. Whilst 36% would like to pick up small goods from a dedicated collection point facility such as a locker or independent store near to home or work.

Ben Perkins, head of consumer business research at Deloitte, said: “Innovators in the market continue to raise the bar, developing new fulfilment options to cater for consumers’ needs. For example, some retailers are able to deliver within 90 minutes, whilst others are offering Sunday deliveries, drive-through pick-up points and even collection from your tube station within four hours of ordering.

“However they must balance this against the cost of delivery and recognise the infrastructure and systems that need to be in place to ensure a reliable and efficient service.  Retailers are under pressure to secure sales and customer loyalty but ultimately, they need to turn a profit in the process.”

End

Notes to editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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