Retail Logistics Trends You Can’t Ignore This Year

The good news for the retail sector continues to get better with predictions that the successful 2017 holiday season will carry over into the new year.

Retail spending in the U.S. was up 4.9 percent during the holiday season compared to the year before, with particularly sizeable jumps seen in appliances and electronics (7.5 percent), home improvement and furnishings (5.1 percent), and jewelry (5.9 percent). Which logistics trends will have the biggest impact in light of this consumer optimism?

Physical Stores Still Important

One interesting trend is the renewed popularity of physical stores. Retailers have been using their stores to fulfill orders and handle returns, and some retailers have even been offering discounts to those who pick up orders in stores. This not only saves shipping costs for the retailer; it also brings in more revenue as consumers make impulse buys when they visit. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods shows that physical stores remain important even to the biggest online retailers.

Air Freight in High Demand

In the year ending in October 2017, the International Air Transport Association registered a nearly 10 percent rise in freight ton kilometers. Much of the volume gain throughout last year came from goods with a high value and perishables. In addition, cross-border ecommerce has been noting double-digit growth. Cross-border online shopping in China rose a remarkable 23.5 percent in 2016 and is now pushing the $1 trillion mark.

UPS and FedEx have been ordering new planes in order to expand their current fleets, while Amazon has leased more than 30 planes through the Atlas Air and Air Transport Services Group, mainly for use in the domestic U.S. market. They’ve also been partnering with other providers of air freight for cross-border services in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

While these trends certainly deserve any business’s attention, an agile supply chain and a willingness to think outside of the box will ultimately separate the winners from the losers in the year to come.

This blog post was based off of an article from Retail IT Insights. View the original here.

join the supply chain geek network