Glad tidings and Christmas cheer are all very well, but for those of us in the courier industry the festive season means a flood of seasonal work with a sharp increase in holiday delivery jobs.
In our line of work it is always a good idea to be aware of forthcoming retail trends and, thankfully, the researchers at the market research firm Mintel have come up with a report which tells us exactly what to expect this winter.
A Busy Christmas Period
While most of the country is worrying about what to buy Mum, Dad and Gran for Christmas this year, we’ll be out on the road delivering it. But what kind of Christmas can we expect, in terms of holiday delivery jobs for 2016?
Well, according to Mintel, it’s going to be a busy one! The market research company’s findings suggest that UK retail sales are likely to grow 2.5% in December, taking total sales for the month up to more than £42 billion.
Online or In Store?
The good news for those handling door-to-door holiday delivery jobs is that, this year, more and more people will be doing their Christmas shopping online. In fact, Mintel’s research found that more than one in five people are planning to do more of their gift shopping online this year.
Online shopping is, perhaps predictably, most popular with 18-24 year olds, 28% of whom said they would shop more online in the run up to this Christmas. It also seems to be the remedy for many men who dislike shopping in store, with 24% of men saying they will stay home this year and shop online instead.
The reason for the increased popularity of online shopping seems to be the British consumer’s love of a good bargain, with 55% of people questioned by Mintel saying they shop online because of the cheaper prices. Other reasons given included avoiding the crowds and shopping at a time which suited them.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
In terms of planning your holiday delivery jobs this Christmas, it may be worth noting that many consumers said they will delay making any major purchases until the Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts are announced.
A notable 23% of those questioned said they would seek out bargains during the promotional period. This could be good news for couriers working for online retailers, as last year one in five people made the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales online, compared to just one in ten people who made the journey to the shops for their bargains.
A Quiet January
One of the results of the burst in retail sales brought about by the promotional activities around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, however, is a decrease in retail spending in the traditional January sales.
In 2015, according to Mintel’s estimates, the promotional days increased November retail sales by 1.5%. However, of those who made purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 55% bought things that they would otherwise have bought in the January sales.
One thing seems certain: for those in the courier industry, the end of November and much of December looks likely to be a busy, productive time, while January may be the perfect month to schedule a well-earned holiday.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry, including holiday delivery jobs. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.