Online shoppers are being urged to complete their Christmas orders early this year as major retailers have pushed forward their delivery deadlines.
Currys, Superdry and the White Company are among those experiencing delivery delays, or have announced earlier deadlines for orders arriving in time for Christmas.
Many retailers are concerned about potential disruptions and delays over the holiday season due to strikes at Royal Mail and a shortage of seasonal workers.
David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, says: “The clock is definitely ticking down for final online order dates in time for Christmas. That is not helped by strikes and a shortage of seasonal workers, such as warehouse workers and delivery drivers, post-Brexit.”
Royal Mail employees will hold industrial action on Sunday and December 14, 15, 23 and 24. The postal service has told customers to post packages and letters earlier than usual to ensure they are delivered before Christmas.
In many cases, customers will need to place their orders earlier than usual, especially if they want to take advantage of standard delivery options.
Superdry has apologized for delays and warned that standard deliveries took up to 14 days to arrive, compared to the usual two to five. Packages delivered through Evri (formerly Hermes) take up to 10 days.
At the time of writing, Currys’ last order date for standard delivery of “small items” was December 18, although it was not clear if that has changed this year. The website posted a warning that it was “currently experiencing delivery delays in some areas”.
It emerged on Sunday that the electrical goods retailer has dropped Royal Mail as a delivery driver “for the time being” to avoid being further disrupted by the strikes.
The White Company, a retailer of clothing and home accessories, confirmed that it had pushed back the standard delivery time. According to the website, Christmas orders can be placed until midnight on December 19. The deadline for orders shipped with next day delivery costing £7.95 is 22nd December at 12pm.
Courier companies are also experiencing delays due to increasing demand and a shortage of workers.
Evri has apologized for delays, saying: “Like everyone else in the industry, we are experiencing higher volumes than usual, partly due to the Royal Mail strikes and staff shortages in some local areas.”
Jinks says other retailers are likely to change their Christmas order deadlines: “Our strong advice is don’t put off your online orders until the last minute. Delays are mounting. If you’re trying to take advantage of last-minute bargains, they’re likely to get even better in the new year as retailers scramble to get rid of old stock. If you’re just putting off your online shopping, don’t hesitate.