Courier and express delivery market posts £1 billion increase in sales in 2016

July 5, 2017

That familiar knock on the door or ring of the doorbell – it seems Britain has never been busier receiving parcels and packages by courier and express delivery. Indeed, Mintel’s Courier and Express Delivery UK 2017 report reveals that the courier and express delivery market* witnessed an impressive £1 billion increase in sales in 2016, with the UK spending as much as £10.1 billion on these services.

Overall, 2.8 billion packages and parcels were delivered in 2016, with the number growing by 65% in four years, up from 1.7 billion in 2012. And while the number of items delivered has soared, this has driven a boom in the value of the courier and express delivery market, increasing by 63% from £6.2 billion in 2012 to £10.1 billion in 2016.

And while value sales grew by a speedy 11% in the last year alone, in 2017 sales are expected to reach £10.8 billion. What is more, the market is forecast to grow by 22% to reach £13.2 billion in 2021, with market volumes expected to increase by 33% to reach four billion packages in the same time period.

British online retail sales are expected to grow by 55.3% over this same five year period to reach £81.94 billion, enforcing the mutual dependence of these two trajectories.

Overall, almost nine in 10 (87%) Brits have sent or received a parcel in the last 6 months.

Marco Amasanti, Business-to-Business Analyst at Mintel said:

“The crux of the recent surge in courier and express delivery services surrounds the ongoing digitalisation of all consumer behaviour, in which e-commerce is the apex. As online channels continue to increase their grip across retailing, the industry is only expected to grow further as supply strives to match surging demand. Money previously spent in retail stores is now increasingly spent online, boosting business-to-consumer delivery demand not only through the initial purchase, but also through the return of goods bought online. The business-to-consumer sector, underlined by the rise in e-commerce will be key to future growth.”

When it comes to delivery, growth has been also driven in the market due to consumers wanting their parcels and packages as soon as they have been ordered. The value of next day deliveries reached £5.5 billion in 2016, up from £3.1 billion in 2012. While same day deliveries have risen from £488 million in 2012 to £1 billion in 2016.

Furthermore, proving speed is of the essence, the number one issue for users of courier services is a long waiting time for parcels to be delivered. One in six (15%) users have had to wait a long time for a parcel to be delivered in the past six months, rising to 30% of those aged 16-24.

“Convenience, in particular the importance of saving time, has become key to consumer demand. It is clear that demand for convenient time windows is significantly more prevalent among younger Brits. Convenience has gradually pervaded these generations, and established itself as a norm and benchmark in the market. Operators that target a younger market must acknowledge these growing expectations, and shift focus onto customer service accordingly.” Marco continues.

Finally, while a long wait time tops consumer dissatisfaction with the courier market place, this is closely followed by a parcel being left in an unsafe place (13%) and the parcel not being delivered in the agreed delivery slot (11%). One in 10 (10%) users has experienced a parcel being lost in the post, while slightly less (8%) have suffered damage to the contents of the parcel.

Around six in 10 (59%) users of couriers have not experienced issues with parcels and delivery services in the last 6 months.

*Courier and express delivery is defined as the delivery of documents and parcels up to a maximum of 50kg, including to both households and businesses, thereby excluding pallet and freight delivery.

Press review copies of Mintel’s Courier and Express Delivery UK 2017 report and interviews with Marco Amasanti, B2B Analyst at Mintel, are available on request from the press office.

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