Don't pay over the odds for shopping deliveriesCheaper delivery options are quick and reliable

16 December 2008

Parcel delivery

Online shopping sales are expected to reach record levels this year, keeping your postman busy

People ordering gifts online this Christmas could find the online retailer's free or standard delivery option is just as good as more expensive premium or express delivery, says

When ordered goods from 15 popular online retailers, it found premium deliveries usually arrived twice as quickly - a day and a half on average - but four of the shops took the same amount of time to deliver both standard and premium orders, and standard deliveries were more likely to arrive earlier than they were promised.

The 15 online retailers chosen were all top scoring online retailers in Which?’s annual online retailers survey, including Amazon, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.

Online shopping deliveries

Some retailers offer free or flat rate delivery for all purchases, but many offer a more expensive ‘priority’ or ‘express’ option as well that promises delivery within two working days or even next day.

The average price for standard deliveries was £2.16, compared to £5.74 on average for premium delivery. As well as a speedier service, premium deliveries usually give more detailed delivery times and may guarantee delivery by a certain time or date. Some also allow the order to be tracked online.

The test also found that online shops usually deliver within the time frame they promise – only two deliveries out of 30 orders failed to arrive within the promised time frame. 

You can find full details of which retailers offered the best value delivery options in the full online shopping deliveries report.

Cheaper online shopping deliveries

Jess Ross, editor,, says: 'Generally, the quicker you want something the more expensive delivery gets, so if you want to take advantage of free or cheaper delivery options you'll need to order soon.'

'Although we found that standard delivery was sometimes just as quick, and in most cases will mean your purchases arrive just a day or so later, if you're cutting it fine you might think it’s worth paying a couple of pounds more for premium delivery, for the extra peace of mind.'

For more information about shopping online see our guide to online and mail order shopping problems.

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