Parcel damage: What it means, and how to prevent it

It can be really disappointing when you’re waiting for an item to arrive and when it turns up, your parcel is damaged – especially if it’s a gift! As customers, we all expect our items to turn up looking brand new, with no dents, tears, or holes. Poor packaging can often result in the item being damaged, or just an overall poor quality delivery experience, as no one wants to have to worry about their item.

Parcel damage may include the packaging being damaged, poorly packaged, or even the goods inside being maltreated. In order to understand how common this type of damage is, we asked 1,000 respondents whether they’d received a damaged parcel before. Our Consumer Home Delivery Survey is now in its 13th year (and available to download on IMRG’s website) so we’ve collated a variety of data trends in collaboration with IMRG and Maru.


Have you or anyone in your household ever received an item that was damaged?

(Source: Maru, nShift and IMRG Home Delivery Report)


The trend line shows an interesting pattern from 2010 to 2021, as the number of people receiving damaged goods have varied, then slowly increased from 2017 (dipping slightly this year). Those receiving damaged goods tends to be between 40-60% of respondents, which is not an insignificant amount. This year, over half of respondents said they had received damaged parcels, making it the third consecutive year for which the majority answered ‘yes’. Damaged goods are becoming more common, however, you may be left asking, why?


In Your Opinion, Why Did The Damage Occur?

(Source: Maru, nShift and IMRG Home Delivery Report)


To find out exactly why peoples’ parcels were being damaged, we then asked those who answered ‘yes’, to elaborate on why they thought the damage had occurred. The most popular answer has consistently been poor handling by the delivery personnel, meaning many people are concerned delivery drivers have mishandled their items. Similarly, insufficient packaging has always been the secondary concern. The item being left in an insecure place has actually decreased since 2018, suggesting there are more protocols in place for tracking and securing parcels once they arrive. These could include the ability to GPS track your parcel, and to change selected safe spots, such as porches, letterboxes, and neighbors' houses.

To conclude, parcel damage has been increasing for the last few years, although seen slight improvement in 2021 since the previous year. It’s important to ensure that damage is minimized, as it can create a negative delivery experience for the customer.

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