We’ve spent the year watching e-commerce grow into a behemoth shopping retailer, replacing brick-and-mortar experiences with convenient, almost second nature shopping from the comfort of our phones. While distribution centers have grown and new e-tailers sprung up, the monster presence of Amazon and Alibaba have turned a lackluster logistics period into one of unprecedented growth, almost unexpectedly. Advanced preparation and strategic price increases couldn’t help abate the pressure on 3PLs to meet the demand for deliveries this season.
Thanks to Amazon’s benchmark two day shipping schedule, most sellers are stuck working within the shortest shipping options feasible considering consumers aren’t eager to wait longer for products coming from other sources. Everyone is trying to stick close to the two day, free-shipping model, leading to capacity issues, delays, price increases and ultimately, disappointed buyers in some cases. Almost all carriers are reporting record deliveries this year and while air capacity hiccuped a bit early in the month, container imports are skyrocketing at most US ports in the five highest import months on record.
“Retailers are doing last-minute restocking as consumers head toward the finish line of the shopping season, but the majority of holiday merchandise is already in the country and ports are beginning to quiet down,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said in a statement. “With tax cuts that will leave more money in shoppers’ pockets in the headlines and consumer confidence high, all signs are that this has been a strong holiday season.”