‘Meteoric’ rise in online shopping to drive boom in UK courier


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A “meteoric” rise in online shopping is expected to drive a boom in UK courier and delivery services in 2020 and in the coming years, according to the latest research from market intelligence agency, Mintel.

It estimates the market will achieve annual growth of 23% in 2020, the biggest annual increase in more than five years.

Mintel said demand for courier services was already booming prior to COVID-19, with the value of the market increasing by a total of 44% between 2014 and 2019 from £7.6 billion to £11 billion. By the end of this year, the courier and delivery market is expected to reach an estimated £13.5 billion.

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This growth is set to continue with the sector’s market value forecasted to increase by 92% between 2019 and 2024 to reach £21 billion.

The boom in courier and delivery services comes as over four in ten (42%) Brits said they had done more online shopping since the start of the pandemic, Mintel noted.

“The likelihood of ongoing social distancing measures should benefit the courier and delivery industry, with an increase in homeworking meaning that the inconvenience of having to ensure that you are at home to receive large deliveries becomes less of a pain for consumers,” commented Mintel research analyst, Francesco Salau.

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“In the long-term, the steady rise in e-commerce sales, increasing sophistication of delivery services, and the growth of delivery subscription services should outweigh the damage done to the sector by a slowing economy.”

He highlighted than health and safety had become a key concern for both consumers and courier workers, with major couriers quick to demonstrate awareness of this by offering contactless delivery and equipping the sector’s workers with protective equipment.

“This will speed up trends that were emerging prior to the crisis, such as drone delivery and technologies that allow couriers access to car boots and smart ‘drop boxes’ outside consumers’ homes,” he added.

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