If You Aren’t Ready for the 2021 Holiday Shipping Season, You’re Already Late
With summer coming to an end, the holiday season is fast approaching.
The winter holiday season is the busiest time of the year for retailers, warehouses, and shippers alike. Some days during the season are busier than others…
- Halloween:In 2020, shoppers spent an estimated $8.05 billion on Halloween costumes, candy, and decorations — that’s just over $92 per person.
- Thanksgiving:In the past, the big shopping day around Thanksgiving was Black Friday. However, the single-day sales event has grown to become a weekend-long sales event. In 2020, 4 million people shopped during the Thanksgiving weekend — that is, Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. The average shopper spent $311.75 over the holiday weekend.
- Christmas:Although many prefer to do their holiday shopping early, there are some that put their shopping off until the last minute. In 2020, the number of people shopping on Super Saturday — the last Saturday before Christmas — reached $150 million, the second-highest number since the National Retail Federation started keeping track in 2016.
What factors affect holiday season logistics?
Last year was a year like no other before it — as was the holiday season — mostly caused by the pandemic. During the third quarter of 2020, e-commerce sales increased by 36.7% from 2019. Even before the pandemic, consumer changes in shopping habits were beginning to affect holiday retail sales and logistics, but the pandemic has only increased this change. However, consumer shopping habits aren’t the only thing affecting the logistics industry.
Peak season 2021 is shaping up to be especially challenging, as shippers are already dealing with other market-wide complications. Other factors logistics companies need to prepare for during the upcoming holiday season includes:
- Driver shortages: As e-commerce continues to boom this holiday season, the need for delivery drivers will also increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment opportunities for delivery drivers will increase at a faster-than-average rate of 5% between 2019 and 2029.
- Capacity limits: There are only so many trucks on the roads, and only so much space within them. During the 2020 holiday season, some private shippers set limits for retailers and refused to pick up orders after a point. Many of those orders were then funneled to the U.S. Postal Service, which struggled to keep up with the demand and the influx of packages.
- Price increases. The added costs faced by retailers stem from manufacturers and will trickle down to shoppers in the form of higher prices, affecting the entire supply chain and shaping the season’s logistics. According to Salesforce’s 2021 holiday projections, it’s expected that $223 billion will be in added costs due to freight, manufacturing and labor.
- Warehousing space. According to the July Logistics Managers’ Index, the national warehouse vacancy rate is a very tight 4.8% and drops dramatically in areas near ports to as low as 1.7%.
- Inventory and staffing: The more orders there are, the more companies need to be prepared to fill those orders. That means having enough stock on hand to avoid stock-outs or delays, as well as having enough staff in a warehouse to pick and pack shipments.
- Transit delays. All of these factors combined will likely lead to increased transit times and more delays that could hurt on-time delivery performance.
“There are a LOT of discussions taking place about the shipping ‘crisis’ and how it is getting worse. Over the decades, I have experienced all sorts of disruptive events, shortages, and weather in our industry. It is part of what makes our industry challenging and why our customers continually depend upon us. They want to work with RMX Global because we’ve always demonstrated reliability, consistency, capacity relationships and have the hardworking team to push through these difficult situations.”
– Kelly Greenlee, President of RMX Global
There is a solution to the holiday crunch time.
Trusted and established third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are invaluable when your logistics operations are stretched to the max and you’re facing time constraints, tight capacity, and overwhelming consumer expectations. By working with a 3PL, such as RMX Global Logistics, you’ll be able to better manage through this year’s peak season and stay ahead of your competition.
As a leading 3PL, our team at RMX uses a unique combination of industry expertise, best-in-class technology, and award-winning customer service to simplify transportation management for our clients. Our logistics experts are here to help you navigate the freight market during peak season and beyond.
RMX services all modes of transportation, including truckload, partial truckload, less than truckload (LTL), intermodal, expedited, and last-mile. We can evaluate your transportation needs, discover efficiencies, and deliver the transportation solutions that are best for your business.
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