It looks like a record Christmas for internet sales, but that won't cheer you up if, like many, you're worried your seasonal deliveries may not arrive in time. As Hayley Platt reports, courier firm Yodel admits it's struggling to deal with a massive backlog, while Amazon is fighting strikes and software glitches.
The Christmas rush is well and truly under way. And these shoppers on London's Oxford Street shouldn't have any problems picking up what they want. But many of those who've bought online fear they're not going to get their deliveries in time for the big day. Amazon's orders are beginning to peak. But this is putting a strain on courier companies like Yodel. The UK's biggest delivery firm after Royal Mail has suspended any new collections, saying it's swamped. Dan Wagner of Powa Technologies says demand's been sky rocketing. SOUNDBITE: Dan Wagner, CEO, Powa Technologies, saying (English): "I think that they just didn't expect the demand and I think that that's a big problem for them and will definitely impact their reputation in the market."- Adding to the woes - a shortage of truck drivers to deliver the parcels. New EU rules forcing experienced heavy goods drivers to take extra training has triggered thousands of British lorry drivers to opt for retirement rather than go back to the classroom. In Germany there were further problems. Workers at two Amazon depots downed tools over pay and conditions. The union representing them said at least 2,000 workers from five out of nine Amazon depots will be joining the strike The new three-day strike is expected to last until late on Wednesday. Amazon say the industrial action won't affect the business. Not everyone agrees. SOUNDBITE: Dan Wagner, CEO, Powa Technologies, saying (English): "This isn't something that's just arrived now but obviously those trade unionists have realised that hitting Amazon at this very critical time in the trading season is probably the best time to get the attention of management to try and force a better deal." E-commerce still only accounts for a fraction of all retail sales. But it's growing fast. Shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are helping push online sales even higher. Retailers and courier companies need to get smarter if they've to avoid a repeat of this Christmas's delivery debacle.