Holiday retail sales crossed the $1 trillion mark for the very first time in 2018, setting a new holiday shopping record. Holiday sales surpassed expectations at a 16.5% year-over-year increase and significantly surpassed the forecast for 4.3-4.8% overall holiday retail growth. This year, 2019, another increase is expected; the size of the increase will have a ripple effect across supply chains. Here are 7 things to look out for concerning shipping during the holiday season.
- Chinese New Year will be taking place starting January 25th and lasting until February 8th. Keep in mind this may mean a 2-3 week delay or even longer as manufacturers and shippers work to catch up after the New Year. Experts suggest getting your orders in by November or October and to order a month’s extra of your shipment.
- GRI or General Rate Increases will go into effect at the start of 2020. FedEx has already announced their 2020, going into effect January 6, putting FedEx Freight at 5.9% and FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Home Delivery at 4.9%.
- Last year saw a combined 16 billion pieces of mail and packages delivered for the holiday season. Postal services are expecting a 4% increase for this year’s holiday season.
- Online trends have experts predicting that 45% of shopping will be done through Amazon alone this year.
- Despite all of the new online shopping trends, people will still be visiting physical stores this holiday season due to the rising trend of BOPUS or BOPIS. Buy-Online-Pickup-In Store purchases have risen in popularity this year and are only predicted to rise in the upcoming shopping season. This will change the amount of door-to-door parcel shipping that would usually occur with these online purchases.
- Delivery times for the holidays have shifted earlier. 52% of holiday shipments occur the week of Black Friday and in the first two weeks of December. In week of and before Christmas there is significantly less volume. However, this trend may not hold up this holiday season. Holiday sales and shopping traditionally start on Thanksgiving and this year with the holiday landing on November 28th, the shopping season will be reduced by nearly a week.
- In 2018, U.S. customers purchased more than $123 billion worth of merchandise online and spent $874 billion in offline spending. The heaviest shopping happened on Cyber Monday with profits reaching $7.87 billion. A similar trend is expected to continue this holiday season with spending on Cyber Monday predicted to reach $10 billion, so be prepared for this increase in shipping activity around this time.
With last year exceeding all expectations, it’s hard to guess how much this holiday season will surpass last year’s retail record. One thing is for sure, with all of these developing trends and a shorter holiday shopping season, it will be important for manufacturers and carriers to stay on their toes.