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The State of E-Commerce Logistics Heading Into Peak Season

The State of E-Commerce Logistics Heading Into Peak Season

Welcome back to another episode of Talking Freight! In this episode, we will be discussing the state of e-commerce logistics heading into the 2020 peak season. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the industry, understanding the current state of e-commerce and its implications for capacity is crucial for supply chain executives. So, let's dive into the key factors and strategies to navigate this peak season successfully.

E-Commerce Growth in 2020

Despite the pandemic, e-commerce has experienced unprecedented growth in 2020. According to an original forecast by eMarketer, total retail sales were projected to have modest growth of 2.8% through 2020. However, e-commerce growth rates have remained consistent, with a significant increase in May 2020. An Adobe study reported a jump of $52 billion in total e-commerce sales in May, with a 10% growth in mobile share of e-commerce since January. Additionally, the popularity of buy online pickup in-store has surged, growing by 195% in May alone. These trends indicate a growing demand for e-commerce options and purchases, as customers remain skeptical of returning to traditional purchasing habits.

Limited Supply Chain Resources

The pandemic has created a double-edged sword for e-commerce logistics. While the trucking industry appeared to recover from the initial decline, limited supply chain resources and a surge in demand for necessities and goods have presented unique challenges. U.S. truck freight prices have generally declined during the pandemic, but the uncertainty surrounding the fall season and a possible second stimulus act has led shippers and carriers to explore short-term micro or mini-bids. This trend reflects the market's flux and uncertainty, highlighting the need for flexible e-commerce logistics strategies to secure more carriers, logistics service providers (LSPs), and supply chain partners.

Strengthening E-Commerce Growth

E-commerce growth is strengthening, despite economic instability. The pandemic has created economic instability, making it challenging to determine the best approach to e-commerce logistics strategies. However, year-over-year growth rates indicate a significant increase compared to the 2019 holiday peak season. With a 77% year-over-year growth rate in May and expectations of an 18% jump, the industry is already surpassing the initially projected peak levels for 2020. As a result, e-commerce demands are expected to continue growing until the development of a vaccine. Major carriers like UPS and FedEx have already implemented peak season surcharges and coronavirus-related fees, indicating an immediate need for adapting to changing cost structures.

Integrated Supply Chain Systems and Collaboration

To navigate the 2020 peak season successfully, it is crucial for companies to embrace integrated supply chain systems and collaboration. Utilizing SaaS-based platforms and capturing efficiencies wherever possible are key strategies for successful e-commerce logistics. Even if there is a hit to the industry due to retraction, the improvements made in anticipation of strong growth will still add value by enabling more efficient supply chain management and future-proofing operations.


E-commerce logistics, peak season, COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain resources, e-commerce growth, integrated supply chain systems, collaboration, SaaS-based platforms, efficient supply chain management, future-proofing operations.


Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted e-commerce logistics? A: The pandemic has stimulated unprecedented growth in e-commerce, with increased demand and a surge in online orders. This has put pressure on supply chain resources and required innovative strategies to meet customer demands.

Q: What are the key factors driving e-commerce growth in 2020? A: The growth of e-commerce in 2020 can be attributed to shifting consumer behaviors, increased preference for online shopping, and the rise of buy online pickup in-store options. The pandemic has accelerated these trends as customers remain cautious about traditional retail experiences.

Q: How are carriers adapting to the changing e-commerce landscape? A: Carriers like UPS and FedEx have implemented peak season surcharges and additional fees to account for the increased demand and changing cost structures. These measures reflect the need to balance capacity constraints and ensure profitability during peak season.

Q: How can companies navigate the 2020 peak season successfully? A: To succeed during peak season, companies should focus on integrating their supply chain systems, collaborating with partners, and leveraging SaaS-based platforms to capture efficiencies. These strategies will enable efficient supply chain management and future-proof operations.