Why shoppers are being urged to buy online Christmas gifts early this year to avoid missing out
If you’re a last minute shopper, then this Christmas you may have to change your routine.
Christmas shoppers have been advised to shop early to help ease the load on the online retail industry.
A huge surge in demand
Andy Mulcahy from IMRG, the industry body of online retailers, has warned that firms may struggle to cope if shoppers leave getting their presents till the last minute.
He told the BBC: “"We think the volumes are going to be really very excessive this year.
"Whilst that in itself is not a problem, getting too much of it too close to Christmas is going to be a bit of a problem.
"If you can spread out your shopping and do quite a lot of it in November, maybe even a bit of it now, then that would really help."
Lockdown leads to boost in online sales
The popularity of online shopping has been gradual over the last few years, but the lockdown period saw the growth of the sector soar exponentially.
Catering to the needs of the consumers, retailers adapted with an increase in click and collect, home delivery and online shopping services.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw online sales soar. Since the pandemic hit the growth rates have been around 40-50 per cent according to IMRG.
Andy Mulcahy warned that if street retailers are forced to close because of a second lockdown this could see an increase of 50 per cent sales boost for online retailers.
Recent figures have shown that the retail sector has grown, with online sales nearly 50 per cent higher than in February.
The biggest Christmas ever for delivery firms?
Mike Hancox, the boss of Yodel delivery firm, told the BBC that the last six months have been “like Christmas”.
Hancox expects the festive period to be the biggest online Christmas for the company.
"We think it will be the biggest online Christmas ever, by some way,” he said.
“Certainly at Yodel it will be our biggest ever year. We're planning for success and I think every other delivery carrier will be expecting the same."
Concern comes with a shortage of blue-collar workers for jobs like packing, food production and production line staff.
Managing director of Berry Recruitment, Lee Gamble, said: “The situation is the same across the country.”
The company currently works from almost 40 locations across England and Wales.
He added: “The lockdown has led to far more people ordering online. Many who had never used the internet for shopping are now converts, and more businesses are selling online.”
“This has created a huge extra demand for all classes of driver, from HGV to local delivery drivers.”
“We did expect to see retail and hospitality workers who have lost their jobs and those on furlough looking for extra work to help pick up the slack.”
“But that hasn’t happened as yet. We don’t know why these people are not coming forward – possibly some have decided to wait for the new year before they start looking for work.”