Black Friday logistics – UK courier firms hired 52% more lorries and vans

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Courier Insurers, Staveley Head, have collated behind the scenes data from some of the UK’s biggest brands including Amazon, Argos, Royal Mail and more to reveal that UK courier firms hired 52% more lorries and vans to cope with Black Friday logistics.

Research suggested that 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 by 52% bringing the total amount of vehicles to 82,000.

When breaking this down by brand, Courier brand Yodel were expected to use an extra 7,000 vehicles for Black Friday on top of their normal 2,500, as they will be part of the courier team supporting Amazon and Argos with their parcels.

Hermes were estimated to plan on an extra 3,000 vehicles on top of their normal 10,000 as they predicted they would be delivering 750,000 parcels themselves on Sunday.

Number of
Additional vehicles
for Black Friday
Total on road
Royal Mail
No info

“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”
– Ashley Peters, Managing Director at Staveley Head

Behind the Scenes of Black Friday 2017: 49,000 extra staff hired by retail giants

To help cope with the sheer volume of orders, an extra 49,000 seasonal staff7 will be hired across Royal Mail, Argos and Amazon bringing the total staff numbers working for all brands to 263,7018.

Amazon UK will be hiring the most additional staff (20,000) across all departments, on top of their 24,000 regular employers, to deal with Black Friday. That’s a huge 83% increase in staff numbers! The majority will be hired to work within the 11 fulfilment centres 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, on the other hand, have 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 worth of products bought over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the UK were tied up in return loops according to Clear Returns. Unwanted parcels cost retailers £60 billion a year, as it is said that processing an order can cost between £3 and £10, 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.

3 Responses

  1. Not sure DPD got it right, not enough vehicles, their Hub has our consignments from Monday 27th still siting on the floor and drivers are telling us there are even more parcels today so fully expect same chaos tomorrow Wednesday……

  2. We also use DPD and are having a nightmare this week. We sent 3-4 times our normal traffic so Black Friday was successful for us – but we cannot get any answers from DPD and have customers contacting us asking where their delivery is.

    It seems they just didn’t have the drivers for the trucks and vans as our local depot have trailers parked up on Monday night that they couldn’t get to the main hub for sorting.

    Very suprised with DPD to be honest.

  3. Started getting lots of email about missing packages today. Turns out that Royal Mail have so far only delivered about 1/2 of 24 mail sent on Monday.

    DPD didn’t even turn up for our collection last Friday.


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