It’s hardly the most surprising news story of the year, we admit, but online retail organisation IMRG has predicted this year will see a record number of parcels carried by the UK’s online logistics industry, with the busiest ever Christmas.

According to the IMRG MetaPack Delivery Index, UK retailers dispatched 22% more online orders in the first 10 months of 2014 than they did in the same period the year before.

“All the indications are that more than 210 million online parcels will be sent out during November and December by UK retailers alone,” commented Andrew Starkey, IMRG head of e-logistics.

Sent out, yes – but will they be delivered on time?

“As volumes rise, on-time delivery is bound to come under pressure and the increase in alternative delivery solutions, such as in-store and third party click and collect, will provide additional capacity and contingency,” admitted Starkey.

And will they be delivered in good condition? After one recent story about a rogue postman dumping mail in a river and another about a rogue courier throwing a commemorative ceramic poppy over a fence, you can’t help but wonder.

MetaPack marketing and strategy director Angela O’Connell said the firm was “hopeful this year’s surge will see retailers delivering on promises of enhanced customer experience”. So are we.

Of course, given recent warnings about driver shortages in the run-up to the festive season this year, you might also reasonably wonder how many of those 210 million parcels might not even turn up at all.

Is it just us, or was life much simpler when it all still got left to the man with the sleigh and the reindeer?