With more consumers shopping late in the evening, a new study by e-commerce delivery expert ParcelHero predicts night-time deliveries will soon become an expectation.
Its research reveals that one in three Britons are shopping late at night – and more than they did five years ago – while many businesses are now operating 24 hours a day.
Despite this, retailers and delivery companies have been slow to respond to the fast-growing demand for night-time deliveries.
David Jinks, ParcelHero’s head of consumer research, says: “Night-time browsing and purchasing has been dubbed by retail analysts the ‘vampire economy’. Our new study: A Monster Opportunity: Delivering the Vampire Economy reveals why 2018 will be the year vampire economy deliveries finally take flight.”
According to the company, the new witching hour is not midnight, but 10.18pm: “That’s the peak time for nocturnal purchases according to Barclaycard. But 10pm is also the time Amazon Prime Now, Argos and Tesco Now deliveries pack up for the night. Clearly there’s a gap between what consumers want and what delivery options are now actually available,” he explains.
According to the firm’s research, one in five consumers want pharmacy items delivered to them in the small hours while one in ten customers are still ordering items as late as 3am. “In a society increasingly used to instant gratification, shoppers see items they must have right now – and these night owl consumers are prepared to pay handsomely more for such late-night deliveries,” says Jinks. “Retailers need to wake up to the potential opportunities for increased sales and better margins.”
He continues: “Night time deliveries can reduce daytime congestion and pollution. And our new study reveals logistics companies are fast developing Quiet Delivery techniques that mean delivering items at night doesn’t need to disturb neighbours: thanks to quieter vans, using lowered voices, quiet cages and racks and ‘hush hush’ reversing alarms.
“Make no mistake, late night deliveries can be done, given the right incentives. As one example, in November 2017 the Xbox One X launched, and such was the excitement surrounding the arrival of the new console that Argos upped the ante on its Fast Track service – delivering games to lucky shoppers at exactly one minute past midnight. Gimmick this might have been, but it shows the basic infrastructure is in place for small hours deliveries.
“Most couriers offer standard overnight courier delivery. That means parcels are driven through the night to be at a local distribution centre ready for final delivery from 8am. There’s no reason why some of these journeys can’t link up with the ‘last mile’ delivery to customers, rather than then be held waiting in the warehouse.”
For retailers, there are challenges to offering customers a round-the-clock-service: “One obvious difficulty is finding the drivers willing to work such unsocial hours,” says Jinks. “These concerns are very similar to the objections retailers faced when Sunday opening hours were first introduced in 1994. But, in the era of the gig economy, many people are choosing to work the hours that suit their lives; and the opportunity to earn a higher rate for night-time work is one that quite a number of delivery drivers would seize.”
Jinks concludes: “For many shoppers night-time deliveries could prove a vital life line, and certainly give increased delivery choices. It won’t be surprising if the likes of Amazon, Argos or perhaps pharmacy networks are soon delivering much later into the night. Instead of scaring us, soon a soft tap-tap on our door late at night will be an exciting event, heralding the arrival of an eagerly-awaited purchase.”
You can read the full Study on the demand for 24-hour deliveries at https://www.parcelhero.com/blog/news-updates/24-hour-vampire-economy