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Explosion in Online Shopping

Iceland Post can barely keep up with delivering mail orders arriving from abroad. When Icelanders discovered the Chinese online store AliExpress in 2013 and, subsequently, other similar ones, there was an explosion in the number of online orders, according to Vésteinn Viðarsson, parcel manager at Iceland Post, Umræðan reports.

“That year, the number of registered parcels from abroad doubled, and since [2012], the number has increased seven-fold,” he remarked. “Today, we get seven parcels for each one we got in 2012. Last year was a record year, and there is already every indication that in 2017, that record will be broken.”

Vésteinn continued, “We have added onto and changed all our basic systems to handle the quantity, but still, we can hardly keep up. The magnitude is enormous. We need to build to meet this [demand] and add on to the mail sorting station and at the same time improve sorting equipment and computer systems.”

Since 2013, the number of online stores used by Icelanders is up, including several in Europe. Social media work well in spreading news of a good product. A recent example, Vésteinn mentions, is of a lamp someone bought online and posted a comment on it. “Two months later, ten pallets of that particular lamp had arrived at the mail sorting station.”

According to Vésteinn, the bulk of the orders is clothing. Then there is anything from car tires to medications. People of all ages place online orders, Vésteinn stated, and most online shopping is with foreign stores, althouth he believes the share of Icelandic online stores is increasing.

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