The impact of Covid on delivery networks means the trend for ever-later Christmas final order dates will be reversed this year, warns the parcel price comparison site ParcelHero. Help is at hand as it brings back its popular retailers’ Christmas deadline tool.
Online Christmas shoppers have been able to put off last-minute ordering later and later over the past few years, as retailers raced to give the latest possible delivery date. This year, however, the Covid pandemic meant delivery networks were coping with a 53% rise in volumes before Christmas orders had even begun. Sensible stores have realised gifts will arrive late if they don’t pull deadlines back from last year’s extremes.
ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, predicts last-minute shoppers are in for a shock this year. “In 2019, many retailers were offering Christmas orders almost up to the big day itself. This year, several are playing things much safer to allow for the lockdown logjam. That’s why ParcelHero’s now-traditional Christmas shopping online tool is live once again, showing the final online ordering dates of all of the UK’s favourite stores. We are sure it will play an even more essential role in saving last-minute shoppers from Christmas disaster,” said David.
“Since March, retailers and couriers have been battling with what is, effectively, a perpetual Christmas peak. Once the ‘real’ Christmas season arrives, retailers and their delivery partners will be stretched to near-breaking point. Last year, 387 million of the 462 million Christmas peak deliveries were online shopping orders. This year, retailers’ deliveries alone will put an estimated 592 million parcels in the system in the weeks before Christmas. That’s in addition to all the parcels people are sending to their friends and relations during lockdown. This is why our final deadline tool is invaluable for tardy shoppers. It’s continually updated to include retailers’ own, last-minute changes. Some retailers’ online final order dates are surprisingly early. Normally, we would think they were being over-cautious but for 2020 we believe they are prudent,” David continued.
- Dell: 12 December
- HP: 12 December
- Liberty: 15 December
- Selfridges: 17 December
- George (Asda): 17 December
- The Conran Shop: 17 December
“Several retailers are cautioning their dates may be pulled back still more if their courier partners become any further stretched. Liberty told us that if, for any reason, lockdown were to extend to mid-December, they would no longer be able to offer express shipping. We agree that any further strain on delivery chains, such as an extended lockdown or snow, could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“Not every retailer is being so cautious in their ordering deadlines. Several are still planning to push the delivery envelope as far as possible,” he added.
- Amazon: 24 December
- Argos: 24 December
- Net-a-Porter: 24 December
- Zara: 24 December
“Christmas Eve same-day deliveries look highly ambitious this year. Only Amazon has control over its deliveries because it owns Amazon Logistics, which now delivers around 10% of all UK parcels. Other retailers are very optimistic in planning for same-day express deliveries on Christmas Eve, though this date is achievable for in-store collection – assuming non-essential stores are open.
“ASOS has gone with a more cautious date of 23 December, as have many other online retailers. However, this could still be too late and we’d go with 21 December as the latest deadline for ordering anything online in time for Christmas. Harvey Nicks and Ikea have also plumped for this date.
“Given the strain on delivery services already, we won’t be at all surprised if retailers change to even earlier final order dates as Christmas nears. That’s why our continually updated Christmas deadlines tool is so useful for keeping shoppers in the know with all their favourite retailers’ final order dates,” David concluded.