It’s official – Thursday, 14th December was the busiest day of the year for Royal Mail according to the BBC, with 10 million letters and parcels to sort through across the country. And I can say that I am partially responsible for the added workload.
As a self-confessed online shopaholic, I know what it is like to be routinely hearing the doorbell ring and signing for deliveries. Don’t get me wrong, I love mooching round the shops, but after a long week there is nothing better than being able to order gifts from the comfort of my sofa, especially when the likes of Amazon, Argos and ASOS (what is it about online retailers and the letter A?) offer same day and next day delivery options.
This shift in shopping trends in the last few years has impacted massively on delivery companies such as Royal Mail, DPD, Hermes and Amazon Logistics. Holding 40% of the delivery market share, Royal Mail has employed 20,000 more employees in the UK over the Christmas period to deal with the pressure of the busiest time of the year. In 2016, the Royal Mail alone handled 138 million parcels in December, a figure that is expected to have increased by 9.7% for this year.
What’s more, because of consumers’ ever-increasing love for click and collect services, more portals are offering the possibility to place last-minute orders before midnight, which of course puts more pressure on delivery companies. So for those who leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute, click and collect services now allow you to order on 23rd December and pick up your deliveries on Christmas Eve.
But it’s not just gifts that are filling Royal Mail’s delivery vans. Despite a substantial decrease in the number of letters that we send, as a nation we still love greeting cards. Out of the 900 million cards that are sent on an annual basis in the UK, one in ten of those will be a Christmas card. In one of our recent blogs, Ellie highlighted consumers’ growing appreciation for bespoke personalised packaging, a trend which also extends to cards, with more and more consumers opting for personalised cards rather than generic ones.
So with all this in mind, make sure you send a personalised Christmas card to your loved ones this Christmas – the last postal day for 2nd class is 20th December and for 1st class it is 21st December, so you still have plenty of time. Oh, and maybe treat yourself to an extra gift bought online…