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Peak Season and Christmas Shopping

With the news that 25% of festive shoppers have already started shopping, we have a look at peak season 2021.

August is likely to set a new record for monthly US import volumes and many importers and exporters are already shipping holiday inventory.

Changing consumption patterns in the United States are driving up demand and we are seeing port congestion and vessels waiting days. Whilst shipping lines have increased container capacity to address demand, there is no way to increase port capacity – particularly hard hit are LA/Long Beach ports.

In the UK SME’s are being hit hardest, the lack of capacity is failing to keep pace with growing consumer and business demand, and shipping rates are being pushed beyond the reach of many small and medium sized businesses.

Costs are still rising, it now costs six times more to ship a container from China to Europe than it did at the start of 2019. Yet global demand for shipping has only actually increased by about 5% during the pandemic.

Globally, carriers are earning more than twice per container than at the start of the pandemic.

But the bigger picture is the supply chain disruption caused by boxes left on the quay, stacked in the terminal or stockpiled in export warehouses awaiting a slot. In a recent report from the Global Shippers’ Forum GSF director James Hookham says “Getting these goods to market will be the difference between economic recovery and empty shelves and consumer price inflation.”

Airfreight is also struggling with peak season capacity. The situation with Covid disruption in major Chinese airports has impacted mostly scheduled operations, with most carriers cancelling their regular flights to Shanghai due to handling issues, and re-routing their flights to Zhengzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Guangzhou. Many airlines are imposing additional restrictions on accepting new cargo, as they’re trying to clear the backlogs created during the last three to four weeks.

But Ecommerce is still racing, and Amazon remains the world’s largest Ecommerce company dominating worldwide sales. In the UK alone sales rose to £20.63bn during 2020, up by more than 50% on the previous year.

The three main types of Ecommerce are business-to-business (websites such as Shopify), business-to-consumer (websites such as Amazon), and consumer-to-consumer (websites such as eBay).

The 2021 Ecommerce shopping trends to look out for this Christmas are –

  • Video shopping, this took off in 2020. Look no further than China, the fastest growing Ecommerce market in the world, for proof.
  • Customers are supporting businesses whose cultural and social messaging reflect their own, platforms like Shopify can help socially-minded entrepreneurs reach like-minded customers.
  • Virtual shopping experiences are growing, where retailers guide customers along their shopping journey through text, chat and video.

If you need assistance with your shipping and supply chain, please contact one of our team on 01622 237979 or email us

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