Ware2Go released new holiday shopping survey results for 2021 based on its recent survey of retailers and eCommerce businesses.
More than 60% of merchants expect higher holiday sales this year over 2020, with 35.2% expecting sales to be higher than all previous years.
Along with anticipating that 2021’s peak season will be one of the busiest-ever sales seasons on record, online merchants are planning on a much earlier start:
- According to 44% of respondents, they are already at peak season as of September.
- And 13.8% report that their peak season began before or during the month of August.
Half of the merchants surveyed reported product shortages in 2020, and 46.4% report that running out of inventory is their top fulfilment concern as 2021’s holiday shopping season approaches.
Half of the merchants reported product shortages in 2020, and 46.4% are concerned about running out of inventory as they enter the 2021 holiday season.
Anticipating heavy demand, online merchants are stocking up with 63.2% reporting they ordered their holiday inventory by August and 44.4% ordered “more inventory than usual.”
Some merchants planned even further ahead with 43.3% reporting ordering inventory for the holiday season “earlier than usual.” Yet, 19% are unsure if their inventory will arrive in time for peak season with 46% of merchants concerned they will run out of inventory this year.
Despite expecting record sales and potential problems with inventory, online merchants still plan to use fast and free shipping guarantees as incentives for consumers.
A previous Ware2Go consumer survey found that 80% of buyers are more likely to make a purchase online if the brand offers free shipping, and 75% are more likely to make a purchase if the brand offers shipping in two days or less.
According to a previous Ware2Go consumer survey, 80% of buyers prefer to buy online if the merchant offers free shipping with 75% are more likely to make a purchase from a seller offering two-day or next-day shipping.
Moreover, previous research shows that 69% of shoppers are more likely to click on an advertisement that mentions free two-day delivery. 54% of merchants include free one- and two-day shipping details in their ads to encourage response.
“With limited inventory and capacity constraints, merchants are starting early, as opposed to offering significant discounting, to convert sales this year.”
“At Ware2Go, our distributed warehouse network helps merchants meet fast shipping promises, and our integrated fulfillment technology gives sellers the ability to pivot across any sales channels on demand and properly position their inventory. Ultimately, the flexibility of our solution enables merchants to target their most profitable channels and geographies to control the bottom line profitability of their business.”Steve Denton, CEO of Ware2Go
Merchants Optimistic About Sales but Worry About Supply Chain Challenges
Among the top concerns of merchants in the area of fulfillment and logistics are labor shortages (45.6%) and longer than usual lead times (36%).
Inventory concerns and logistics issues are very real for retailers, as pressure on the global supply chain has impacted manufacturing, shipping and delivery of goods around the world.
There are now record-breaking wait times for unloading cargo ships in Southern California which handle nearly half of all US imports. In addition, many companies are struggling to hire and retain workers due to a severe labor shortage.
The situation at the Port of Long Beach is so critical, Mario Cordero, the executive director of the Port of Long Beach said to Fox Business, “The situation is in a crisis mode.”
Brian Whitlock, a senior director and research analyst for Gartner echoed these concerns on LinkedIn, “those with cargo on ships at anchor may not see them until late Oct or maybe Nov – depending on how this congestion affects inland capacity.”
“We’ve established new transportation relationships and increased the end-to-end supply chain visibility for our merchants to further reduce Time in Transit (TNT) into our network,” added Steve Denton explaining how UPS-backed Ware2Go is trying to help online merchants solve the supply chain crisis.
More on 2021 Holiday Season Expectations
Check out our holiday season preview feature: We asked 13 shipping and eCommerce experts to share their views on what online merchants and marketplace sellers should expect from the holiday season in 2021.
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