Tamebay Black Friday Speed Test 2021

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The annual Tamebay 2021 Black Friday Speed Test is underway. To test the resilience of deliveries over the Black Friday period, at 9.30am this morning we placed 15 orders split across the largest three UK general marketplaces – Amazon, eBay and OnBuy, and will be reporting back on the delivery experience.

We already know that this year is challenging for carriers – in Royal Mail’s last Quality of Service report they disclosed that only 82.4% of 1st Class mail was delivered on time. Their target is 93.0% of deliveries to be on time.

Today is also the busiest day of the year for retailers and it’s interesting to check their despatch times which is the only part of the process they are able to control. It’s likely that some parcels will actually get despatched today, but those marked as despatched over the next two days might in reality not enter the carrier networks until Monday.

Having created a list of items to buy, ranging from Home, DIY, Shoes, Christmas, and Entertainment categories, as we made each purchase we accepted the default delivery times offered by each retailer on the marketplace.

Amazon may have an unfair advantage as three of the purchases turned out to be regular FBA and they are normally ferociously fast to deliver. However one purchase is being shipped direct from the retailer and it turns out another is from the Amazon Global Store – this means Amazon US will make a local purchase from a US merchant and ship the product to the UK taking care of any taxes and duties before making a domestic delivery to me. Even the FBA orders are not promising the accustomed next day delivery so Amazon are playing it safe.

We also inadvertently purchased an item on eBay from a seller based in Wuhan China, with an estimated delivery date of Wed 15 Dec – Tue 1 Feb. That’s quite a wide range and may mean we don’t actually finalise the results this year!

Interestingly all five orders placed on OnBuy had the same “Standard (Free)” delivery service offered but we’ll update the table with the actual carrier used as the results come in. OnBuy win the prize for the fastest despatch with one order having already been marked as shipped while I was writing this post!

We’ll report back regularly on the Black Friday Speed Test 2021 results and are looking to beat the statistics from last year where, on average, the 15 parcels arrived 0.267 days earlier than the earliest estimated delivery date. We aren’t so interested in who can deliver fastest or who can despatch the quickest – what matters is whether the entire ecommerce operation is running smoothly and whether marketplaces, retailers and carriers can work together to keep the delivery promises that have been made – if they match or get close to delivery estimates on Black Friday, we can be pretty confident that they will cope over the whole of the Christmas period.

Black Friday Speed Test 2021 Purchases


Advertised Service

Estimated Delivery

Delivery Cost

Despatch Date

Delivery Date

+/- Estimate

Amazon Royal Mail 48 Tracked Thu 2 Dec –
Fri 3 Dec
Amazon Amazon FBA Thu 2nd Dec Prime Account
Amazon Amazon FBA Thu 2nd Dec Prime Account
Amazon Amazon FBA Fri 3 Dec – Tue 7 Dec Prime Account
Amazon Amazon FBA Thu 9 Dec Prime Account
eBay Royal Mail 2nd Class Sat 4 Dec £1.39
eBay Royal Mail 2nd Class Tue 30 Nov Free
eBay Royal Mail 2nd Class Wed 1 Dec Free
eBay Other courier (3 to 5 days) Tue 30 Nov –
Thu 2 Dec
eBay Economy Delivery from outside UK Wed 15 Dec –
Tue 1 Feb
OnBuy Standard (Free) Fri 3 –
Mon 6 Dec
OnBuy Standard (Free) Wed 1 Dec –
Thu 2 Dec
OnBuy Standard (Free) Thu 2 Dec –
Fri 3 Dec
OnBuy Standard (Free) Thu 2 Dec –
Fri 3 Dec
OnBuy Standard (Free) Tue 30 Nov –
Wed 1st Dec
Free Fri 26 Nov

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