Americans are set to spend big this holiday season. In fact, numbers from Adobe Analytics report the online spend alone will reach $124.1 billion to overshadow brick and mortar sales.
What’s more, Deloitte reports that people will spend $525 on gifts representing a bump of 20% from $430 in 2017.
2018 Holiday Shipping Season
Small Business Trends talked with Georgianna W. Oliver, founder of Package Concierge® to get her take on the 8 big predictions for the 2018 holiday shipping season.
Free Shipping Will be the Norm
The biggest trend might be the race to offer free shipping. Target started the ball rolling by offering free two-day shipping for items from November 1 to December 22.
Walmart soon offered their own version on items costing $35 or more. Most recently, Amazon has jumped in and thrown their own free shipping gauntlet down for the holidays.
There’s no reason to expect this won’t turn into an all-out free shipping frenzy.
Businesses will See a Big Bump in Volume
There’s going to be even more packages being shipped year over year.
Oliver’s automated locker solution has seen an uptick in just the numbers of packages from the 2016 to 2017 holiday season. They even anticipate they will handle over 125,000 packages every day in the days between Black Friday and December 24.
“In the two weeks before Christmas we actually see our package load double,” she said.
Mobile Will Move Up in Importance
Counting the numbers released for November, mobile searches accounted for almost half (48.2 percent) of the total web page views across the globe. Adding to that is the fact the big companies are responding and pushing new ways to pay from your phone like PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet. It all means even more packages will need to be shipped from orders that originate from smartphones this year.
Innovators like Package Concierge®, are responsive. They’ve placed 25 million packages and served 346,000 clients across the country to date.
AI Will Influence What You Buy
You can’t really have any conversation about predictions for sales and shipping during the holiday season without mentioning AI. Salesforce is even predicting that artificial intelligence will influence up to 35% of what you buy during the holiday season.
There’s more to AI than the marketing messages you get to prompt you to open your wallet. There are also predictions about a big spike in the number of chatbots that are used to support customer queries as per tracking during the parcel shipping journey.
Cyber Week Will Be the Focus
With all the trends moving towards online shopping, it’s really no surprise that cyber week is also predicted to be the biggest of the holiday shopping season. The week starts on November 26 in North America with Cyber Monday.
Real Time Data Is Even More Critical
Oliver explains why everyone shipping holiday parcels needs to have methods in place to update addresses to ensure they are right and gifts get to where they need to be.
“Because the turnover in apartment communities has become so significant at 55% every year, this year is all about getting the right package to the right person at the right address,” she says. Package Concierge updates their data regularly—every day and every other day.
Omnichannel Options Will Make A Dent
Services whereby products bought online get shipped to brick-and-mortar stores for pickup will be popular. In fact, The NPD Group predicts that 60% of the shoppers that buy online will get their purchases shipped to a brick and mortar location.
More People Will Shop Early
A Deloitte survey has a full 60% of people who responded starting their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. That should do its part to clog the shipping lanes up a little earlier since these same folks plan on spending $370 more than those who start later according to this research.
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