The explosive growth of e-commerce accelerated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is offering a more than a twinkle of hope for those of us in global supply chain management— especially as we go into the holiday season.
As consumers have grown accustomed to a digital-first shopping mindset, they plan to do more online shopping this holiday season than ever before, and that’s great news for the logistics industry.
To meet this challenge, producers of consumer goods worldwide and their requisite distribution providers are keeping pace, learning to adapt, and growing stronger. This silver lining to the pandemic is also being seen in the global shipment and handling of perishable foods and fresh flowers, Prime Group’s core business.
As we march into the holiday season, new data from PriceSpider on consumer purchasing behavior shows a 113% increase in year-over-year e-commerce sales through the first three quarters of 2020.
Factoring in the recent spikes in COVID-19 infections in tandem with flu season this winter, there will likely be even more stay-at-home orders as consumers continue to avoid brick-and-mortar retail entirely. So, happy holidays, New Year, and beyond…
Frenzy for Food
With grocery e-commerce now ranked among the fastest-growing product categories online, Prime Group companies are committed to providing the highest levels of service for our fresh food customers and forwarders around the world. And it’s not just retail grocery; online sales are also skyrocketing in the food and beverage segment, as they too have successfully adopted alternative methods to meet emerging customer preferences.
In response to the boom, one step we’ve taken is to increase cold storage capacity all across our global network of warehouses and handling facilities. The demand for coolers and freezers was already high prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now we are even better positioned to maintain the cold supply chain for our customers shipping temperature-sensitive fruit, vegetables, cheese, and fish.
We are also continually beefing up our technology and introducing new and more efficient systems by which we track and monitor our customers’ precious cargo to ensure fresh, safe, and on-time delivery worldwide.
Forget Me Not
‘Tis also the season for fresh flowers. Despite the major challenges imposed on this industry since the beginning of the pandemic, fresh-cut flower distribution, buttressed by e-commerce sales, is also taking off again. And just in time. With nearly 30 percent of adults in the U.S. purchasing flowers or plants to give to others on Christmas and Hanukkah, many will also click and buy blooms for themselves.
As you’ll recall, early in the pandemic, retailers struggled to keep floral shelves stocked, due to shortages in production and a lack of transport capacity. Since May, however, the industry has gradually gotten back on track. In fact, according to the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), after two months of near identical gains, floral sales gains actually exceeded fresh produce growth by about one percentage point in September.
Here again, the increased prevalence of e-commerce is feeding growth in this key market segment. Although the idea of simply clicking on a button to order fresh flowers is nothing new for this industry, now that consumers are wary of mingling with other shoppers, they appreciate the sterility offered by the flower e-commerce industry.
Life as We Knew It
The pandemic has reshaped life as we know it, and in the process, has accelerated consumer reliance on alternative means of accessing food and merchandise. So buckle up, this e-commerce boom is not going away any time soon.
For 20 years, our customers have depended on Prime Group to smooth out the bumps in the road by identifying ways to swiftly adapt and respond to sudden and sustained changes that affect the cold supply chain.
Just know we’re here with you for the entire ride.