PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS
I’ve devoted a lot of ink to how e-commerce and Omni channel distribution is revolutionizing the process of shipping goods from source to consumer, so much so that if we’re not careful we will all be working for Amazon soon! But the huge increase in holiday e-commerce sales has given the logistics industry an unexpected holiday bonus!
Amazon and Walmart haven’t published their holiday sales yet but ComScore are projecting a 13% increase in e-commerce sales, a $69 billion value. According to RetailMetrix foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores fell in November and December by 6.4% over the same period last year.
What does this mean for logistics professionals? The shift from consumers shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to shopping online means that higher volumes of small packages are being shipped, a much more labor-intensive process. As I reported last week both FedEx and UPS struggled to deliver on time as both were overwhelmed by the high volume. The real heroes of the day were the truck driver teams.
“Analysts say that companies running driver teams have outperformed the rest of the transportation industry this year in an otherwise lackluster season. “If you look across the board, freight transportation’s been down,” said Jason Seidl, analyst at Cowen and Co. he said. Expedited carriers have been “the only real bright spot.”
This came as estimates point to far faster growth in Web orders in sales at brick-and-mortar stores this year. That has pressured the operations at United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx, and the carriers have put on extra staff to handle the surge.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their latest employment situation summary which revealed that a total of 292,000 jobs were added in December. Well guess what – 23,100 of those jobs were added in transportation and warehouse companies.
“There were 15,100 new courier and messenger jobs in December compared to the month before, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, 5,300 more trucking jobs, and 3,200 additional warehouse and storage jobs.”
A majority of these jobs can be attributed to the holiday surge in e-commerce sales resulting in a much-needed holiday bonus for logistics professionals!