In the final push toward 2023, economic uncertainty creates challenges in the Q4 transportation environment. Supply chain participants closely monitoring consumer, demand and transportation industry trends are positioned to optimize their business performance in the year’s last calendar quarter.
That’s especially true as holiday retail sales are expected to grow 6-8%, an estimated fortified by an October with 6% year-over-year gains. Both reflect a much slower rate than the 15% growth from November to January 2021. Expect e-commerce sales to grow 13-14%, year-over-year, reaching $260-264 billion, even as more shoppers return to brick-and-mortar stores.
Yet, only 10% of shoppers are expected to spend more this holiday season. When they do, purchasing decisions are based on price (65%), value (53%), and free shipping (51%), according to Gartner. Speaking of holiday shipping, meet these deadlines from USPS, FedEx, and UPS to ensure timely delivery on seasonal shipments.
Expectations for free or low-cost shipping promise more pressure on a transportation environment where declines in freight demand are driving down spot and contract costs. With September manufacturing growth at its slowest pace in 30 months, industry experts are beginning to predict a “return to normal” for the trucking environment despite ongoing equipment imbalances and driver shortages.
At the same time, ocean carriers canceling sailings from Asia aim to control demand volatility just a few months after premium container prices delivered record profits.
Watch our MercuryGate Minutes video to find out how you can make complicated freight shipping easier.
Download our eBook on multimodal freight optimization to discover how real-time data and streamlined processes can improve customer satisfaction. Keep scrolling for more industry indicators we’re monitoring during Q4.