‘Retailers’ final online order dates for Christmas are too optimistic’
Many retailers have now announced their final Christmas online order dates but the impact of driver shortages, Brexit and Covid-19 means many look overconfident, warns the home delivery expert ParcelHero. ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., predicts last-minute shoppers are in for a shock this year.
Retailers have mostly stuck to the final deadline dates for online Christmas orders that they quoted last year and, in fact, some have stretched their last order dates even closer to the big day. This is a move that we think is misguided and could backfire.
We’re advising online shoppers not to rely on stores’ last order dates. Keep consulting our final deadline tool to see if stores have woken up, smelled the eggnog and decided to introduce more realistic deadlines.
Our research shows that Christmas online sales rose by a stunning 56% last year compared to 2019. This year, 1 in 3 shoppers plan to buy entirely online. In normal times, retailers and their delivery partners could cope with the expected increase in orders. This year, problems getting goods delivered into the UK because of ports delays, container shortages and Customs red tape due to Brexit mean less stock and supply chain disruption.
The well-publicised shortage of truck drivers means that, once goods actually reach Britain, stores are also having a hard time getting them into distribution centres and onto the shelves.
Retailers call Christmas “peak season” but some may find this year’s peak too high to climb. For that reason, we strongly advise people to shop online as early as possible and not leave things too late. Online shoppers have habitually pushed back their Christmas orders as retailers scramble to provide the latest possible delivery dates. This year, however, it’s a gamble that they seem likely to lose.
ParcelHero has consulted with many of the country’s leading stores to unwrap their Christmas final order deadlines. Here we reveal the retailers with some of the earliest and latest final Christmas order deadlines.
- Dell: 2 December, selected items including some laptops; 17 December, all orders
- HP: 16 December
- All Saints: 18 December
- Conran: 19 December
- Pets at Home: 20 December
These dates seem realistic and are sensibly timed considering the potential upheaval we face this Christmas. However, some retailers are still planning to push the delivery envelope as far as possible.
- Amazon: 24 December
- Argos: 24 December
- ASOS: 24 December (specific postcodes only)
- Net-a-Porter: 24 December (specific postcodes only)
- Selfridges: 24 December (London only)
- Zara: 24 December (London only)
Christmas Eve same-day deliveries look highly ambitious this year. Only Amazon has control over its service because it owns Amazon Logistics, which now delivers around 15% of all UK parcels. Several stores told us that their final order deadline date of 24 December will only be for specific postcodes this year. For ASOS, Net-a-Porter and Zara that’s a significant and sensible change from last year’s UK-wide Christmas Eve final order date.
Selfridges’ new last order date bucks the trend. Last year, its final delivery date was 17 December, which was one of the earliest; this year, it’s a whole week later. According to the news agency Bloomberg, Selfridges tried to sell off its online business earlier this year. Now the entire company is up for sale and is putting renewed emphasis on e-commerce.