E-commerce continues to crush it, multi-channel / omni-channel is a "thing" for B2B, and shipping will cost more during the 2015 holiday season. Today's post covers interesting news to-date in 2015 that shippers will want to keep an eye on. Top of the list includes rising freight volumes, e-commerce sales growth of 14.5% compared to last year, and a prediction that B2B e-commerce market share will double over the next 5 years.
Read on for more news for shippers ...
Freight Volume in the U.S. Continues to Rise
JOC.com reported in June that U.S. freight shipments increased 2.3% to hit a high point in May. Compared with May of last year, volume and expenditures were down but transportation equipment orders increased 13.5% in March and a big year-over-year drop in fuel prices helped hold down shipper costs. According to the report, 2015 volumes and spending are higher than any of the last five years (except for 2014).
Q1 2015 E-Commerce Up 14.5% Compared to Q1 2014
The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced updated statistics in May that continue to show strong growth in U.S. e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2015. Quarterly e-commerce sales were $80.3B, increasing 14.5% compared to last year, and total retail sales were $1.151T, up 1.6% during the same period. After 20 years since the first recorded online commerce transaction, e-commerce sales now represent 7% of total sales up from 6.2% for the first quarter of 2014.
Forrester Predicts B2B E-Commerce to Reach 12.1% of Total
Forrester recently announced a US B2B Forecast for 2015 to 2020 describing how B2B ecommerce will grow from $780B in 2015 to $1.13T in 2020. The report highlights petroleum/petroleum-based and drugs and pharmacy as some of the largest categories today but that fastest-growing categories include durable goods including vehicles, vehicle parts, electrical and electronic products, industrial machinery and parts. Widespread mobile use is accelerating online research and ordering and the opportunity to reduce costs of serving and selling customers are driving the growth. Several research reports have also shown that customers spend more per order and in total and are more loyal when engaging across "multiple channels".
Holiday Shipping Shaping Up to Cost More
The Wall Street Journal recently posted several stories indicating that UPS will end some shipping discounts for larger retailers over the holidays. This news, along with other indications that carriers are sticking to their rules to charge by volume as well as weight, seems to indicate holiday shipping will be more expensive in 2015.
Temperature-Controlled Shipping is Booming
Expectations of a 100%+ increase in purchasing of drugs that require temperature-controlled shipping is leading carriers like UPS and DHL to invest in "cold logistics" network capabilities to handle the new opportunities. This continues an ongoing trend of specialty logistics services to handle the specific shipping needs for various types of products.
Traditional Retailers Fight Back Against Online Only
CNBC recently reported that traditional retailers are starting to catch up to online brands. The report suggests that brick-and-mortar supply chains can be as much as 3x less expensive than online-only. As you might expect, leaders are those selling more expensive goods that appeal to higher-end shoppers.
FedEx Reported Earnings Miss But Still Growing
Although the FedEx earnings announcement failed to live up to analysts expectations, there was continued revenue and volume growth. Ground revenues increased 19% to $3.6B, overall U.S. volume grew 2%, and freight increased 1% to $1.57B.