BY ROBYN LYNN, RESEARCH ANALYST
In a society of increasing instant gratification, we must wonder if it is logistically possible to get everyone their ugly Christmas sweaters and thoughtful white elephant gifts in time for the holiday season. Holiday shopping is not quite the same as it used to be, and, during a global pandemic, we can be sure things will be different.
E-commerce was already taking over, and that trend was accelerated due to COVID-19 shuttering stores. According to Kiplinger’s latest forecast on retail sales and consumer spending, e-commerce is expected to grow 29 percent since the 2019 holiday shopping season.
For the first time in 30 years, Walmart will not be open on Thanksgiving Day, and other retailers who are typically open on Thanksgiving, such as Best Buy, Kohl’s, and Target, have followed suit. Retail is, however, adapting. Seasonal jobs are shifting to warehouse positions at shipping facilities as retailers understand they will have to keep up with more demand.
Jim Albrecht, an external supply chain executive predicts:
“Manufacturing and warehousing will be pushed to the max, perhaps defying recent inventory management priorities, in attempts to maximize sales revenue. This should benefit the consumer with extended and numerous holiday promotions. Logistics will be tested and at times likely overburdened, so buy early in anticipation of potential delays.”
In anticipation of an increase in package volume this season, UPS plans to hire 3,270 seasonal employees in the Chicagoland area alone. They are adding 690 drivers, 1,060 package handlers and 1,520 driver-helpers. Logistics companies are continuing to expand. Of approximately 21 million SF of industrial space currently under construction in the Chicago market, roughly 96.3 percent of that is set to be occupied by logistics companies. (Source: CoStar)
We can be sure that consumers will continue to consume, and, hopefully, the shipping speeds will indeed be fast enough.