By Daniel Hunter

With Christmas just 10 days away, retailers are gearing up for a surge in Click & Collect orders resulting from booming online sales over the festive period, according to Barclays.

Research commissioned by Barclays’ Retail & Wholesale banking sector team found that retailers said they are set to see growth of 49% in Click & Collect orders over Christmas, on top of impressive growth last year, which saw 5.7million consumers using Click & Collect during the week of Christmas in 2013.

This predicted spike comes with an increased confidence about Christmas trading - 70% of retailers say they are feeling more confident compared to last year, when just over half (52%) were feeling optimistic about the trading period ahead.

The survey also revealed the rise in demand for Click & Collect is being met head on by retailers, with nearly half (43%) investing in this type of delivery option. Most retailers (84%) believe Click & Collect has become a permanent fixture within the delivery market and 71% see it as critical to their business success. Over a third (38%) of retailers are expecting usage to soar more over the next four years than any other delivery option.

The e-commerce and delivery market landscape is predicted to continue to change with Click & Collect becoming more crucial to retailers and consumers alike by 2018. Deliveries direct to a consumer’s address are predicted to decrease from 72% to just over 64% of total physical deliveries over the next four years whilst Click & Collect volumes are anticipated to rise to just under 35% from 26%. This growth may be a result of consumer collection services offering shoppers a more manageable, flexible and often cheaper solution to daytime home delivery.

Currently, the UK is the most active nation in terms of Click & Collect services, compared to the US, France or Germany. However, France’s Click & Drive supermarket collection points are an integral part of its delivery networks. Similarly, US-based retailer The Container Store, a specialist retail chain, allows consumers to shop online and collect their orders in under an hour of purchase, and as part of the initiative, staff bring consumers’ shopping straight to their cars.

Richard Lowe, Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays, said: “According to a recent report one in ten consumers fell victim to late deliveries last Christmas and it’s clear to see how Click & Collect offers a practical, alternative solution.

"Amazon has also recently partnered with Royal Mail, allowing shoppers to collect their parcels from their local Post Office, and I believe we will increasingly see this kind of tie-up. These developments can only be good news for consumers, offering them increasing levels of choice and the confidence that their gifts will make it under the Christmas tree in time.”

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