On this website and in the pages of Logistics Management, this time of year brings a fair amount of holiday season-related news, in the form of things like retail sales projections, volume predictions, shipping expectations, and many others.
What’s more, aside from the timing, one common theme that ties all these things together focuses directly on the holiday season, as it relates to e-commerce influencing shopping and shipping patterns. And that is where a recent survey from DHL fits in.
In its “DHL 2019 Holiday Shipping Survey,” DHL collected data based on a survey sent to more than 4,000 customers as well as other U.S. e-commerce businesses. And, not surprisingly, the results and main takeaways provided more than a bit of food for thought to say the least.
One finding focused on the impact of global economic issues, with 72% of respondents expecting tariffs, the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), and Brexit to impact holiday season sales, with nearly one quarter (24%) expecting these issues to have a significant impact.
Another finding focused on the expectation that more than 70% of respondents expect gains in e-commerce sales over the coming holiday seasons, which is actually down from last year’s 70%.
An increased focus on European markets was apparent in the survey’s findings, with 30% of respondents noting that they expect the majority of their holiday sales to come out of Europe, with 27% pointing to Asia Pacific, 25% saying Mexico/Canada,, and 18% stating Central and South America.
Two other key survey takeaways included:
the importance of fast international delivery, with 49% saying it is most important for a successful holiday season; and
on a more humorous note, respondents indicated they are “willing to go to great lengths if it guaranteed an extremely successful holiday season, with 37% would listen to the Chipmunks Christmas album on repeat if it would guarantee a 50% increase in their holiday sales, 27% would forgo all their holiday gifts, 19% would overeat and gain 10 pounds, and 17% would volunteer as Santa at the mall
Not to be overlooked are the anticipated biggest holiday season-related challenges, with 17% citing website functionality, 29% stating staffing, 23% noting competition with larger companies, and 31% saying fulfilling orders.
This time of year, from a logistics planning and operations perspective, comes with more than a few challenges. These DHL survey findings really paint an impressive picture of things that need to be top of mind, if they are not at the moment. There are a ton of moving parts, and that will never change, to be sure. Planning and execution are key and tend to go hand in hand on this front. Will things be perfect this holiday season? Chances are probably not. And that is impossible to predict anyhow. But, at the very least, this survey shows nothing is taken lightly, and that all hands will be on deck to make things as smooth as possible, or as they can be anyhow.
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