During the Christmas-buying rush many retailers failed to meet online shoppers' expectations, with nearly one in three having problems with their deliveries, according to a YouGov survey.

Of the 31% who encountered issues with deliveries over the festive period, 49% said they had missed deliveries, while 45% said their delivery either came late or was never received (see MSE's Failed delivery? Fight back guide for your rights).

The YouGov poll surveyed a total of 2,398 people and was conducted online on 29 and 30 December on behalf of supply chain systems company JDA.

The level of dissatisfaction among shoppers has risen from the previous year, when only one in five shoppers experienced problems.

Last Friday a new ombudsman service – The Retail Ombudsman – was launched to cover the retail sector, and it today told MoneySavingExpert that it has already received more than 500 complaints, many due to Christmas delivery issues. (See MSE News story Retail ombudsman service launches today.)

In the run-up to Christmas 2014, big retailers such as M&S, Waitrose and Asos buckled under the pressure of shoppers' demand and on Christmas Eve, parcel delivery firm City Link announced that it had gone into administration – see the Waiting for a City Link delivery? You may have to collect it MSE News story for more information).

And delivery company Yodel (which was again voted among the worst delivery firms, with 45% of 6,229 Yodel customers rating its service as 'poor' in MoneySavingExpert.com's latest annual poll of worst delivery firms) apologised to customers when it was forced to temporarily suspend new collections from retailers, blaming the backlog of parcels from Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The YouGov figures also revealed that many shoppers were able to bypass delivery problems by using 'click and collect' services over Christmas. Of the 39% who used such services, 61% said they did so to avoid delivery charges and 53% said they did so because of the greater convenience it offered.

Martin Lewis
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'Shoppers want greater flexibility as to how and when they receive goods'

Jason Shorrock, retail strategy director at JDA, says: "It is clear that home delivery reliability around the Christmas period remains something of a lottery.

"Retail phenomena such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have only further increased consumer demand, yet retailers still struggle to cope effectively with its implications. The Christmas shopping experience can often dictate a person's shopping habits for the next 12 months and beyond. 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."