Strongest January online order volume growth since 2013

Online retail delivery order volumes were up 20.6% year-on-year in January, according to the latest data from the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index. This was the strongest January growth for online order volumes since 2013. During the same period, footfall fell to its lowest January rate in five years[1] – possibly influenced by above-average rainfall keeping shoppers away from the high street – which looks to have benefited online.

Despite this high demand for online orders, the percentage of parcels arriving on-time recovered to 90% in January, following the record low of 85% recorded in December. However, this was still down on January last year when it was at 93%. The most likely reason for the longer-term fall in performance is the general increase in the proportion of orders using faster, typically next-day, delivery services.

The relative weakness of sterling also continued to exert an influence over the destination of online retail orders. While it has recovered against the US dollar in recent months, sterling remains weak against the euro (steadily hovering within €1.12 - €1.15 range). As a consequence, the volume of orders going to destinations within the EU hit 70% – the highest percentage since the index launched in 2011.

Andrew Starkey, Head of e-Logistics, IMRG: “Online sales revenue growth was also strong in January, up 13.9%[2], so it was a strong start to the year for online retail overall in spite of the ongoing economic uncertainty. It was a very wet month for most of the UK, which can deter people from visiting their local high street, but it’s possible that post-peak returns may have had some influence on volume too. Given the record volume of Christmas orders – and the extended returns period that many retailers offer – it is likely that the volume of returns would also be high. Many of these would have found their way back into online channels for resale as part of the New Year sales.”

Maria Dahlqvist Canton, Global Marketing Director, MetaPack, said: "It’s good news for eCommerce retailers and demonstrates that the market remains buoyant following the year-on-year rise in retail delivery order volumes during December.  There is a definite correlation between the slow-down in footfall on the high street and the rise in online orders, and it will be interesting to see if the trend continues in the February figures.” 


About the ‘IMRG Metapack UK Delivery Index’

The IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index has been designed to enable the e-retail industry to track a wide range of key benchmark metrics to enable organisations to benchmark performance, track trends and inform strategic decisions.

The information presented is aggregated from a consistent sample of MetaPack's extensive dataset so all retailers, carriers and other suppliers remain completely anonymous. While it is not possible to confirm whether the data is entirely representative of all retail sectors, by covering in excess of 200 retailers and an average of more than 5 million orders in any one month, we consider it to be a valid and highly reliable source.

About IMRG 

For over 20 years, IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) has been the voice of e-retail in the UK. We are a membership community comprising businesses of all sizes – multichannel and pureplay, SME and multinational, and solution providers to industry. 

We support our members through a range of activities – including market tracking and insight, benchmarking and best practice sharing. Our indexes provide in-depth intelligence on online sales, mobile sales, delivery trends and over 40 additional KPIs. 

Our goal is to ensure our members have the information and resources they need to succeed in rapidly-evolving markets – both domestically and internationally.

About MetaPack

Founded in 1999, the MetaPack Group provides eCommerce and multi-channel delivery technology to leading retailers. MetaPack's highly configurable platform looks after the customer delivery experience generating consumer trust and loyalty. The software connects shippers with parcel carriers, as well as a wide range of alternative delivery, collection and returns services. For more information, visit

Press enquiries:

Tel: 020 3696 0980



Data Summit 2019 scroll banner