Christmas delivery delays as online shopping hits new highs

Online shopping. File picture
Online shopping. File picture

UK retailers struggling to cope with a bigger than expected online shopping boom are taking too long to deliver items, resulting in a surge of complaints from shoppers.

Research by retail analysts at accounting firm Accenture show retail delivery times during the Christmas period have gone up, with firms now taking an average of five days to deliver, compared with 3.6 days in 2017.

It tracked the deliveries of 57 retailers and found one in three is slower at getting parcels to their owners than their stated maximum delivery.

A quarter of retailers admitted they were struggling to cope with purchasing demands at peak times.

And in a further kick in the teeth, customers are also being asked to spend more in order to qualify for free delivery, with the spending threshold for free delivery rising by 5% compared with last year, it found.

It comes after official stats showed retail sales jumped more than expected in November, helped by Black Friday promotions and stronger growth in sales of household goods.

Official figures showed sales rose 1.4% from October, despite economists' forecasts of a 0.3%.

Separate data from complaints handling firm Resolver shows complaints about online shops and delivery firms in December have soared when compared with the same period in 2017.

This December it has taken 443 complaints a day about online shops and delivery firms, having tripled from last December when 166 complaints a day were taken.

Siobhan Gehin, managing director at Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, said: “While many retailers delivered an excellent customer experience, a surprising number of retailers struggled to deliver a strong ordering and delivery experience.”