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With Black Friday just days away and Christmas shopping on the horizon, the UK is about to hit its busiest season when it comes to package, parcel and post delivery. But it seems that this time of year also comes with frustrations, as Mintel’s Attitudes towards Retail Home Delivery and Collection Services UK 2017 report reveals that as many as 62% of those who use delivery most often* have experienced a delivery issue.

Mintel research reveals that a longer than estimated wait for delivery of products (30%) tops delivery users frustrations. This is followed by being unable to schedule a delivery for a convenient time (20%), deliveries being left in unsafe areas (18%) and damage to the content or packaging (17%). Meanwhile, receiving incorrect products (12%) and difficulty arranging a redelivery (12%) complete the nation’s top five delivery issues. Further down the list, one in 10 (8%) of those who use delivery most often say they have had a problem with unhelpful delivery personnel.

But it isn’t just delivery that is causing consumer angst, as collection is proving a cause for concern too. Some 38% of Brits who have collected a product in the last 12 months have experienced a problem, with long queues (20%), unhelpful staff (12%) and out-of-stock products (10%) among the most common problems.

Nick Carroll, Senior Retail Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Online retail will continue to grow within the UK and with it the demands put on retail logistics. While instances of problems are lower amongst those who have collected a product, the issues users have reported seem avoidable from a retailer perspective. While a big positive of click-and-collect, from a multichannel viewpoint, is that it allows store-based retailers to emphasise their brand traits when an online shopper comes into the store, if customers are faced with long queues, unhelpful staff or unavailable products, then the opportunity is lost and the benefits of coming into store are negated.”

Almost nine in 10 (87%) Brits have had a product delivered in the past year**, while 56% have collected one. Delivery to home (86%) remains the most popular delivery method with delivery to another location, such as work (16%), used less often. Collection within stores, be it through in-store click-and-collect (44%) or in-store reserve-and-collect (30%), remains the dominant mode of collection, with just 10% collecting via a third-party collection point.

Mintel estimates that the value of collection orders in the UK reached £9.5 billion in 2016, accounting for 18.5% of all online sales, with the market this year estimated to reach £11.8 billion.

When asked which newer innovations in the delivery and collection market consumers would like to see become more widespread, evening home delivery (43%) tops the wish lists of those who use product delivery and collection. While GPS tracking of orders (35%) and one-hour delivery slots (33%) complete the top three innovation interests.

Overall, 30% of delivery and collection users are interested in same-day delivery, with those aged 16-24 expressing the greatest interest in same-day delivery (41%). Despite this, the majority (87%) of users think that next-day delivery is quick enough for most purchases. Meanwhile, 46% of delivery and collection users say the ability to have products delivered before paying for them is appealing and a forward thinking one in 10 (8%) express an interest in drone delivery.

“Online retail shows no signs of slowing down and neither does the speed in which retailers are attempting to fulfil orders and how quickly consumers expect them to arrive. For leading online players, how they fulfil orders can be their defining quality, but there is evidence that speed is not necessarily everything; it is about offering a range of options to be flexible to consumers’ multifaceted demands.” Nick adds.

Finally, packaging is proving cause for concern for delivery and collection users as almost half (47%) of users think that orders made via the internet come with too much packaging. Meanwhile, 57% of users believe that retailers that sell online should offer a recycling service for old products.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how their consumption is affecting the environment. Greater online volumes that bring more waste packaging and delivery vehicles to serve the demand may see consumers more actively question how their shopping habits are affecting the environment. One way in which online retailers could limit this is to instigate a recycling service for old products. There are examples of store-based retailers who have introduced a recycling service at the store level and the majority of consumers seem to be in favour of online players taking a similar stance. This is a simple move, even if it is a logistical strain for the retailer to take. It could help reduce the impractically of excess packaging around the home, and encourage greater purchasing.” Nick concludes

*Consumers who have had products delivered or collected in the last 12 months and say they use delivery services to their home or another location (eg. work, university) most often.

**12 months to August 2017.

Press review copies of the research and interviews with Nick Carroll, Senior Retail Analyst at Mintel, are available on request from the press office.