18th November 2021

Lost in transit: £270 million worth of lost parcels in the UK

Between an increased preference for online shopping and prominent events like Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Christmas, retailers send around 2.8 billion packages a year in the UK. Unfortunately, mislaid or stolen parcels have created a financial void, with lost packages costing around *£270 million.

Shoppers lose interest fast if delivery is poor

UK SMEs admit one of their biggest problems is finding reliable couriers in the UK within budget. While there are several reasons why delivery might not go as expected, a missing parcel can damage the reputation of a small business and lead to loss of revenue over time. To counteract this, SME buyers must find the right balance between cost-of-service vs potential loss of items.

Almost 40% of all one-star reviews are related to issues with delivery:

  1. Over 48% of shoppers admit that orders not arriving is the biggest driver for a bad review.
  2. Late delivery and parcels left in unspecified places are a close second.

Research revealed that a quarter of the 900,000 complaints received last year were delivery related, with almost 70,000 around delivery couriers specifically.

Keith Doe, Head of Courier Services at Addison Lee says, “last mile ecommerce delivery is the safest way to deliver online purchases. Deliveries travelling on dedicated vehicles, handled by one person and delivered to the desired location in a very short space of time. The cost of alternative delivery options and the risk of loss and damage should always be taken into consideration when exploring the cost of last-mile ecommerce delivery. Higher levels of service and customer satisfaction are accompanied by the potential to increase basket value”.

Cost of lost parcels

Fashion deliveries get complained about the most

According to the percentage of population shopping, these are the most popular online purchases, while fashion and food are two of the most complained about sectors.

  • Fashion – 55%
  • Fast-food – 32%
  • Books – 29%
  • Home & DIY – 28%
  • Computers, tablets and mobile phones – 24%
  • Toys – 22%
  • Health & Beauty – 22%
  • Electricals – 18%

Three ways to provide a better delivery experience

With Mother’s Day coming up on the 27th of March, it’s more important than ever for businesses to focus on the customer experience around their package delivery services.

According to Keith, “it is estimated that more than *100 ecommerce companies launch every day within the UK. Logistics experts like Addison Lee can assist these businesses to navigate their way through the complexity of final mile delivery. The world of logistics is very different to ecommerce and retail and therefore leveraging the knowledge and experience of our team enables them to concentrate on their core business.”

How to improve delivery


1. Respond quickly

While you might not be able to control what happens to a parcel once it leaves your business, what you can control is response time around complaints and enquiries. More than a quarter of shoppers cite slow response time as a considerable problem for orders and tracking. Select suppliers who can respond to queries in a live environment and have teams who work around the clock.

2. Set clear expectations

Although same-day courier is an attractive offering, more shoppers care about cost above all else, with free delivery important to 71% of online shoppers. Same-day deliveries are most appealing to modern-day shoppers, and all businesses should have same-day and free delivery options to compete in a busy ecommerce market.

3. Partner with a reputable courier service

The courier you partner with can make a big difference to your bottom line. With that in mind, here’s what to consider when searching for one:

  • Range of products and services – Do they offer timed delivery, same-day, next-day, and international services? Do they use bicycles, motorcycles, vans or cars? It’s essential to choose a courier to make your life easier and more efficient.
  • Proof of delivery and courier insurance – Ensure the items you send reach their destination safely to build peace of mind and trust with your audience. Choose a courier that provides proof of delivery and insurance.
  • Customer service – More often than not, a customer will equate an excellent or lousy shipping experience with your business, not the courier. And while you can’t always control what happens to packages when they leave your business, you can ensure the courier you choose offers stellar customer service and has a proven track record.

“Addison Lee provides its clients and their customers with a seamless service, providing a full end to end tracking and proof of delivery, this, in turn, increases the customer satisfaction with their purchase. Allowing users to have this level of visibility and control leads to repeat customers for retailers and increases brand loyalty”, says Keith.

If you’re looking to thrive and compete in a crowded ecommerce sector, the importance of partnering with a reliable and fast courier service cannot be overlooked. Same and next-day delivery is no longer just a way to differentiate your business, but an essential service customers expect. The right courier can help you retain and attract shoppers, build trust and deliver an excellent customer experience.


Discover effortless London courier services with Addison Lee, including same-day courier services and safe deliveries anywhere in London.

Data sources

*£286 million void calculation:
5.5 million Brits did not receive their orders in the last 12 months.
The average parcel value in the UK is $66.8 – we converted it to £48.56 and rounded up.
5.5 million x £49 = 269.5 million, rounded to £270 million

*41,000 businesses launched in the UK in the last year: Data from Companies House

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