More than 496 million parcels were delivered by Royal Mail during the third quarter, the busiest period in its history.
The postal service distributed 11.7 million parcels during its toughest 24 hours, 32 per cent more than the busiest day throughout the first national lockdown.
Covid-19 restrictions prompted a surge in demand, leading to Royal Mail retaining around 10,000 of the 33,000 flexible workers employed for the festive season.
Keith Williams, non-executive chair, said: “The third quarter saw unprecedented parcel volumes in Royal Mail, driven by online shopping and the peak Christmas period, the busiest in our company’s long history.”
Group revenue rises
Royal Mail group revenue grew by 13.5 per cent to £9.3m in the nine months leading up to December, the biggest leap since its privatisation in 2013.
Quarterly group revenue rose 20 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
Total parcel volumes were up 31 per cent while parcel revenues soared by 37 per cent in a year to £3.8m.
Black Friday frenzy
Growth was driven by online shopping as the period included Black Friday and Christmas, as well as the introduction of tighter national coronavirus restrictions.
Royal Mail hailed the staff members who drove the postal service company’s success throughout an unprecedented festive season.
Keith Williams, non-executive chair, added: “Our colleagues have worked incredibly hard to deliver these exceptional volumes at a time when many units have experienced rising levels of COVID-19 related absences, including necessary self-isolation.
“I want to thank them for their extraordinary dedication.”
Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “Royal Mail remains one of the largest couriers in the UK and has shown its willingness to innovate and reshape itself to meet the new demands of its customers.
“The introduction of parcel hubs will add greater efficiency and help to offset the drop in letter volumes, while potential new contracts from the growth in e-commerce could help to keep the business on track.”