LONDON: Nearly a third (31%) of online shoppers in the UK experienced problems with their orders this Christmas, according to a survey which also confirmed the popularity of "click-and-collect" as an option.

Based on a poll of 2,398 UK consumers by research firm YouGov for JDA, the global supply chain planning company, almost half (49%) of those who experienced problems said they had missed deliveries while 45% experienced late deliveries or goods that didn't show up at all.

Underlining the growing influence of click-and-collect on UK shopping behaviour, the survey also revealed that 39% used this service over Christmas, mainly to avoid delivery charges (61%) or because of the convenience it offered (53%).

Overall, a full 40% of UK shoppers who used click-and-collect over Christmas said they had a "very positive" experience, but the survey showed that the service remains far from faultless.

More than a third (35%) reported having a negative experience, including long waits caused by a lack of in-store staff (30%), no dedicated in-store click-and-collect areas (29%) and staff taking a long time to locate ordered goods in-store (25%).

"Shoppers want greater flexibility as to how and when they receive their online goods," said Jason Shorrock, retail strategy director at JDA.

"But at the same time it is clear that home delivery reliability around the Christmas period remains something of a lottery. With growing numbers of consumers opting to shop with retailers that offer the option of click-and-collect, those that can ensure order fulfilment excellence will be ultimate winners," he added.

The study also revealed that the growth of online retail in the UK is showing no sign of slowing down, as nearly half (47%) of the respondents said they did at least half of their Christmas shopping online and 18% shopped more than they originally planned.

"The Christmas shopping experience can often dictate a person's shopping habits for the next 12 months and beyond," Shorrock warned.

"At a time when margins remain squeezed, retailers need to ensure they are delivering a great experience both online and in-store. Those that don't will not have much to celebrate next Christmas."

Data sourced from JDA; additional content by Warc staff