Business Irish

Thursday 27 June 2019

'We delivered 100,000 parcels a day' - online shopping drives 'record' Christmas for An Post

An Post experienced a record Christmas period
Stock photo
An Post experienced a record Christmas period Stock photo
Stock picture
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

An Post has reported a “record” Christmas period with parcel deliveries up 50pc - while online stores are recording increases as high as 70pc - however main street sales dropped by up to 7pc.

A spokesman for An Post told Independent.ie that the company had enjoyed its most successful Christmas, as many shoppers shunned the main street and shopping centres, to buy online.

“It was the busiest Christmas on record, parcels were up 50pc on last year,” an An Post spokesman said.

“We delivered 100,000 parcels a day during the height of the Christmas season. And some online retailers whom we work with, have recorded a 70pc increase on last year.”

However in comparison, street retailers have witnessed a decline of up to 7pc on last year for the Christmas period, including the post Christmas sales.

David Fitzsimons, group chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, said sales had performed “Okay,” but they were “probably 5 to 7pc down on last year.”

“As Black Friday weekend grows, the conventional sales decline. But there were still a few good days and especially with non-EU nationals (consumers) who can claim their VAT back.

“They love premium brands and many shop for family and friends back home.”

An Post didn’t wish to specify which retailers had recorded the hikes in sales but Amazon has reported a record-breaking holiday season, as consumers opted to shop from the comfort of their own homes.

The internet mammoth reported tens of millions of shoppers globally had signed up to its Prime service during Christmas to receive orders within two days for free shipping.

“In terms of parcels and e-commerce there’s been a huge upswing in items handled this Christmas,” An Post said.

“It exceeded forecast from all the retailers we deal with.”

Retail bodies have complained that the drop in footfall had come as a result of the growth of online shopping - hitting Irish retailers with 70pc of online spend going to foreign businesses.

Other issues blamed for the decrease in street shopping included the weather, Brexit fears and cross border shopping, as well as Black Friday sales in November.

An Post said it expected the upturn in parcel deliveries for online retailers to continue across the sales period but stated it was too early to provide figures.

“All we can say right now is stamp sales are up by 13 million and we are now heading into a post Christmas and new year sales period, so it’s an important time in terms of e-commerce and postal traffic,” An Post said.

“It’s early days but the Christmas forcecast was exceeded for online retailers and for An Post and we expect this pattern to continue into late December and January.

“We believe it’s going to be a very busy time between now and into the new year with online sales underway.”

Graeme McQueen, from Dublin Chamber, said: “Generally speaking it was a good Christmas for retailers in Dublin. The final week was very busy, especially with the extra Monday ahead of Christmas. 

“Most retailers in the city say volumes were at least level with last year, with many reporting modest single digit increases. The picture is generally positive in Dublin. And the post Christmas sales have started reasonably well.

“Good traction is being seen in clothing and electronics. Some retailers were able to hold back on pre-Christmas sales, so they have good offers available.”

An Post said it had handled almost 1.5 million AddressPal items for customers.

As a result of volumes of parcel traffic, the company experienced delays of around two days on some deliveries earlier in December.

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