DHL eCommerce has published the 2024 E-tailers’ Almanac, to help online merchants keep a pulse on what’s happening in the e-commerce industry and identify overarching trends for the year.
The four overarching trends comprise different aspects of e-commerce shipping, e-tailer preferences and industry shifts that DHL eCommerce US has gleaned from customer feedback and lightweight parcel industry developments in the last year.
The four market trends are:
- E-commerce continues strong: Despite cautious consumer spending because of rising prices, e-commerce remains strong with an expected low to mid-single-digit growth in 2024. A solid 2023 peak holiday shopping season signals an increase in consumer spending confidence on purchases of low-cost items (<US$100 in value), primarily apparel, many of which are shipping inbound into the US via air freight from Asia.
- Logistics companies stronger than ever: After Covid, new, smaller regional logistics providers entered the shipping arena, giving large, established logistics shippers additional competition in the US market. As some of these up-and-coming new players have exited the market, the established companies that invested heavily in automation, robotics, capacity to handle more volume and aggressive pricing during the pandemic have emerged stronger than ever. Thanks to investments over the last three years, the larger logistics providers can offer their customers greater efficiency and capacity than before the pandemic.
- E-tailer needs and preferences transforming – greater emphasis on speed and quality: 2023 was marked for online merchants as a year with cost, reliability and speed as the top three priorities. However, there is a noticeable shift occurring where quality and speed are gaining prominence over cost. This shift can be attributed to online merchants looking to expand their businesses this year and their increased focus on time-definite delivery options.
- Move over AI, humans are still important: In a world in which artificial intelligence is implemented to improve customer service response rates, agent productivity and ticket management, chatbots for consumer queries are becoming more sophisticated, helping to predict consumer needs and helping with simple requests. When surveyed, lightweight parcel e-tailers in the USA still prefer a personal human customer experience to help resolve their logistics and transportation queries.
Lee Spratt, CEO, DHL eCommerce, Americas, commented, “As the E-tailers’ Almanac enters its fifth year, we have seen that it has captured the pulse of some long-term and short-term trends, but overall, this year, DHL eCommerce continues to see the resiliency of the industry and growth opportunities, despite global and economic concerns. We hope e-tailers use this Almanac to gauge where and how the industry and other e-commerce bellwethers are faring in the USA.”