parcel being carried

The internet and express delivery has made buying products from overseas retailers a lot easier for consumers, but many still find the idea unappealing.

This is one of the main findings of the 2013 Parcel Deliveries Usage and Attitude Survey, carried out by Hermes.

The research revealed that just 9% of the 1,000 people questioned buy regularly from an overseas e-commerce site, while those who do not gave reasons such as high delivery charges and the potential difficulty of returning unwanted or faulty goods for their skepticism.

They also doubted whether goods would actually arrive and how long delivery would take once the item had been dispatched.

Despite this, more carriers are expanding their international capabilities. DPD expanded its DPD Direct service to include international deliveries earlier this year, while City Link and UK Mail also followed suit in May and June, so it seems most major carriers are now taking advantage of the international e-commerce market.

DHL Express is hoping to dispose of its same-day operation, one of the few parts of its domestic business not acquired to form Yodel in 2010, later this month as continues to focus on international delivery. But, given the results of the survey, is it relying too much on international e-commerce?

Hermes’ sales director Gary Winter said that, although there are international growth opportunities for retailers and carriers alike, they need to work together to “get it right”.

Despite what the survey suggests, Winter believes confidence in both overseas retailers and domestic e-tailing will improve over the next 12 months with more regular shoppers becoming “heavier purchasers” and less frequent shoppers buying more online.

Maybe carriers are right to build up their international networks before this predicted boom hits.