The number of overseas deliveries despatched from the UK could double within three years, according to the IMRG MetaPack UK Delivery Index, which found that an expected 161 million orders posted cross-border in 2014 may rise to 384 million in 2017 if current trends continue. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

In fact, the report suggested that the total number of orders despatched by retailers in the UK is expected to top 1 billion in 2015, and reach around 1.3 billion in 2017. According to IMRG, it is a testament to UK retailers that so many orders are coming in from other countries, and that these numbers are expected to continue to rise.

Within the UK the growth in orders is underpinned by the quality of delivery provided by delivery carriers, with 95% of deliveries being made (or attempted) on time in May 2014. "We have already said that the UK e-retail is emerging from the economic doldrums, but it looks like we could see some major milestones reached in the next few years," said Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics for IMRG.

The data suggests that online retail is continuing to grow in line with current forecasts and provides a good indicator of improving national economic health. What is also encouraging is that the quality of service experienced by consumers seems to be improving following the best on-time/attempted delivery performance of the year so far.

"This is happening as the industry absorbs the changes in online consumer rights and bodes well for how retailers will continue to want to improve customer experience through offering a wider range of better delivery choices," said Angela O'Connell, marketing and strategy director for MetaPack. "Over the next few months we will be watching the data to see how new delivery choices like Sunday delivery services are reflected in the index."