Online Christmas shoppers are warned to get their orders in early as huge demand on delivery drivers sparks fear gifts could arrive too late
- There has been a massive shift to online shopping for the second year in a row
- Some two thirds of all gift buying is done via the web, totalling more than £35b
- The shift will put a huge burden on the courier system
Online Christmas shoppers are being warned to get their orders in early amid fears of a huge demand on delivery drivers.
Fears over the Omicron variant threaten to blow up hope of a high street revival with a massive shift to online shopping for the second year in a row.
Families are expected to complete festive shopping online with some two thirds of all gift buying done via the web – totalling more than £35billion.
The shift will put a huge burden on the courier system amid concerns there are insufficient warehouse staff and van drivers to keep up with demand.
Concerns around deliveries have seen a number of household name retailers bring forward the delivery date that customers can order to be sure of items arriving before Christmas.
Online Christmas shoppers are being warned to get their orders in early amid fears of a huge demand on delivery drivers
Home delivery experts ParcelHero says the arrival of Omicron means that online festive spending is expected to match last year’s figure of £35.26billion, as shoppers again grow cautious about visiting their high streets.
Its head of research, David Jinks, said: ‘Last year, the closure of non-essential stores during November’s lockdown forced people to do much of their Christmas shopping on the web for the first time… That made it the high street’s worst-ever holiday season.
‘We don’t expect the return of a pre-Christmas lockdown again this year but shoppers are having to adapt to wearing masks in stores again and are becoming more careful about having contact with other people.
‘That means more Brits will be ordering online and sending gifts by couriers.’
Fears over the Omicron variant threaten to blow up hope of a high street revival with a massive shift to online shopping for the second year in a row
Although he said this was ‘good news for online retailers’, he added: ‘Given ongoing driver shortages, ports delays and supply chain issues, a further surge in orders may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.’
Mr Jinks said some retailers – such as Boohoo and Harrods – have already brought forward their order dates and he expects others will follow suit.
Lisa Hooker, of accountants PwC, also said more than half of consumers had bought ‘most of their presents’ by the end of last month.