XPO Logistics, a leading global provider of transport and logistics solutions, has released findings from an October survey on e-commerce trends during COVID-19. The company expanded the scope of its most recent survey to include retailers and consumers in the US, UK, France and Spain, and narrowed the focus to holiday shopping behaviour this year.
Numerous retail analysts predict that a spending shift to e-commerce will be the dominant trend in fourth quarter retail activity. The survey found that buyers and sellers were almost universally positive about the ability of supply chains to meet the increased demand, despite heightened safety restrictions.
Key consumer findings
- 85% of respondents believe that their online holiday purchases will arrive on time
- 51% prefer to purchase gifts online, while 27% prefer in-store shopping, with online as their second choice
- 60% cited price as the most important factor when making a holiday purchase
While consumer respondents did note some drawbacks to online shopping, such as the inability to view merchandise in person (30%), most were confident about the process itself. Relatively few respondents had concerns about damaged goods (12%) or the returns process (9%).
Key retailer findings
- 91% of respondents feel prepared to manage the surge in e-commerce orders, and 57% plan to offer sales earlier than in previous holiday seasons
- 62% have added or plan to add outsourced supply chain support from third-party logistics and transportation providers
- 60% have added or plan to add warehousing support, either in-house or through third-party providers
Retailer respondents did have some practical concerns about managing record volumes during the pandemic, citing inventory levels and technology among the factors most likely to come under pressure.
Malcolm Wilson, chief executive officer of XPO Logistics Europe, said: “For more than seven months, we’ve been steadfast in supporting our customers’ supply chains during COVID-19, while maintaining the utmost safety for our workers. Now we’re seeing an unprecedented level of new interest from e-commerce and omnichannel retailers as they turn to outsourced logistics. Our technology and scale are immense advantages for these customers in managing the consumer experience.”
The surveys were conducted by independent research firm Statista between October 14 and October 27, 2020. The consumer respondents are adults aged 18 and older. The retailer respondents have at least one online sales channel, with or without brick-and-mortar stores.