Last year’s e-commerce boom, after Australia went into lockdown, has continued well into 2021 while restrictions across the states continue. This year, with Victoria and NSW likely to continue lockdowns into the third quarter of the year, parcel delivery service CouriersPlease (CP) is forecasting a second parcel boom before Christmas.
Between March and May 2020, CP experienced an 80% spike in parcel volumes on the previous year. After lockdowns ended and restrictions began to ease, parcel volumes stabilised to a level that was still 53% higher than in 2019.
October to December is peak period for the logistics industry, given the popularity of major shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well as Christmas shopping. At CP, parcel volumes grew to more than 4.6 million in 2019, an increase of just 1% (52,000 parcels) on the 2019 September quarter.
During last year’s December quarter, however, CP handled more than 8 million parcels. While this was a 4% increase in volumes (340,000 parcels) on the 2020 September quarter, it amounted to a significant 71% growth on the 2019 December quarter.
This year, from 25 June when Sydney went into lockdown, CP is well on its way to surpassing 2020 December quarter volumes while lockdowns continue, delivering more than 5.6 million parcels in just eight weeks. As a result, the company expects a further 30% growth in the December quarter compared with the same period last year. This is about 2.4 million more parcels than the company delivered last December quarter, and 122% (5.7 million parcels) more than the 2019 December quarter.
“We’ve continued to experience a surge in parcel volumes and the current lockdowns have seen volumes soar to the levels we see during peak periods,” CP chief operating officer Phil Reid said.
“Since last year’s boom, we expanded the business rapidly, doubling our franchisee network and hiring hundreds more delivery drivers. However, volumes continue to soar to record levels, and a second parcel boom this November and December is inevitable. We are preparing for a more than 30% increase in volumes during this period and have already started recruiting more warehouse staff and delivery drivers where possible.”
Mr Reid said it is important for consumers and businesses to understand that couriers across the country are delivering more parcels than ever before, particularly as lockdowns continue in Australia’s two largest cities.
“While it is a challenge for the industry to keep up and deliver within time frames, we do know how frustrating it can be for those waiting to receive essential and urgent items,” he said.
“There are several recommendations retailers can share with their customers to minimise delivery delays. However, preparing for potential delays remains important and shoppers should pay particular attention to notifications from couriers, who are updating delivery time frames and communicating delays to the best of their ability.”