A review of Holiday Rush 2019
Believe it or not, the proverbial dust is just now settling on the Holiday Rush for 2019 and most people are declaring it a success. The traditional holiday rush season started around November 15 and ended about a week or so ago.
Holiday shopping by the numbers
Depending on who you talk to, overall sales rose anywhere from 3.8 percent to 4.1 percent compared to last year. We usually go by the National Retail Federation, claims the 4.1 percent.
“Holiday retail sales during 2019 grew 4.1 percent over the same period in 2018 to $730.2 billion,” the National Retail Federation said in a recent press release. “The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants. Online and other non-store sales were up 14.6 percent over the year before at $167.8 billion and are included in the total.”
Those figures are through Christmas and don’t include what comes after Christmas when people make returns and often more purchases. According to a separate report in the Washington Journal, an estimated 39 percent of people made returns after Christmas.
Effect on last mile
The look at retail is just part of the overall holiday rush picture. On the logistics end, we saw great gains, much like previous years. The last mile industry grows at least 30 percent every year over the previous year. One would think that would eventually dwindle and cap out, but we only see growth.
As the regional last mile delivery providers who are residential delivery specialists, we witnessed firsthand how this year’s retail growth both burgeoned and shifted from previous years. We’ve discussed the growth, but let’s look at the shifts.
For example, most of the time, e-commerce picks up around mid-November but this year, it seemed like more people waited until the last minute. We consider this part of the Amazon Effect because customers are holding all retailers accountable for Amazon’s promises for one and two-day delivery. During a massive influx, however, not even Amazon can keep up with those promises for all their customers.
The last mile delivery market increased more in our Little Rock service area compared to Northwest Arkansas. We think that’s related to a remaining loyalty to Walmart, which is “shopping local” for Northwest Arkansas. Even if you shopped online at Walmart.com, we would not have seen as many of those deliveries because Walmart has moved towards internalizing its last mile deliveries.
Are you a small to mid-sized retail shop that wants to add delivery in 2020? We’d love to talk with you about being your last mile delivery provider in Northwest Arkansas and Central Arkansas.