Extra 19,000 delivery vehicles to be deployed in the UK for Black Friday weekend

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Courier insurance firm Staveley Head has collated behind the scenes data from some of the UK’s biggest retailers and delivery firms to find out how they handle the sheer volume of additional orders during the Black Friday shopping weekend. The research has revealed that an extra 19,000 delivery vehicles will be deployed in the UK to handle deliveries across Black Friday weekend, bringing the total number of vehicles deployed to 82,000.

According to IMRG, approximately £7bn (US$9.3bn) will be spent across the Black Friday weekend, running from Thursday, November 23, to Monday, November 27, 2017.

From this total, £2.5bn (US$3.3bn) will be spent on Black Friday alone, as previous data shows that the Friday accounts for 36% of the weekend sales. That means that on Black Friday itself, £1.7m (US$2.3m) will be spent online by UK shoppers every single minute.

Research reveals that based on an estimated £7bn (US$9.3bn) spend, 225 million parcels will be in transit due to Black Friday sales, with Sunday being the busiest day. The number of vehicles delivering Black Friday orders is expected to increase dramatically bringing the total amount of vehicles to 82,000.

When breaking this down by brand, Yodel is expected to use an extra 7,000 vehicles for Black Friday on top of its normal 2,500, as it will be part of the courier team supporting Amazon and Argos with their parcels. Hermes will use an extra 3,000 vehicles on top of its normal 10,000 as it expects to be delivering 750,000 parcels on the Sunday following Black Friday.

Extra staff

To help cope with the sheer volume of orders, an extra 49,000 seasonal staff (Black Friday and Christmas) will be hired across Royal Mail, Argos and Amazon bringing the total staff numbers working for all brands to more than 263,000.

Amazon UK will be hiring the most additional staff (20,000) across all departments, on top of their 24,000 regular employers. The majority will be hired to work within the 11 fulfilment centers placed across the UK. Argos have a staff count of 29,565 people in the UK but will be hiring an extra 10,000 for the Christmas period.

Royal Mail has a massive 161,136 people working for them across the UK and will be hiring a similar amount of staff to Amazon (19,000) to deal with all the deliveries, as well as the expected huge amount of returns.

Black Friday returns

Last year, £600m (US$794m) worth of products bought over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the UK were tied up in return loops according to software developer Clear Returns. Unwanted parcels cost retailers £60bn (US$79.4bn) a year, as it is said that processing an order can cost between £3 (US$4) and £10 (US$13), with the costs of returns double or triple that.

The average returned purchase in the UK passes through seven pairs of hands before it is listed for resale and therefore for some retailers, it’s not even worth processing. Many returned parcels are simply thrown away to save on this cost.

Black Friday is without doubt, the busiest day of the year for couriers, delivery drivers and retailers across the world, with so much work going on behind the scenes to ensure a smooth weekend.

Ashley Peters, managing director at Staveley Head, said, “As insurers of courier and HGV drivers in the UK, we wanted to go behind the scenes to see the impact of Black Friday on logistics and what happens once an order has been placed.

“The amount of extra staff and vans hired to deal with the sheer volume of parcels is quite incredible, and can be a very expensive, logistical nightmare for so many companies. It is therefore no surprise that some brands decide to skip Black Friday and focus purely on Christmas during peak season.

Our Black Friday logistics research aims to raise awareness of the behind the scenes effort that courier drivers, warehouse operatives, retail employees and postmen/woman go to, in order to deliver a smooth and efficient service each year.”

To read the full report from Staveley Head, click here.

November 20, 2017

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Dan originally joined Parcel and Postal Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest technological developments, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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