Study: Holiday fulfillment to challenge e-commerce retailers

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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man shopping online

U.S. e-commerce businesses expect holiday sales growth, but have concerns over shipping.

According to a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. DHL customers and other e-commerce businesses, over 70% of respondents anticipate an increase in e-commerce sales during the 2019 holiday season, compared to the 2018 season. This includes 40% expecting an increase of 1-20%, 21% expecting an increase of 21-50%, and 10% expecting an increase of over 50%.

However, a large majority (72%) of respondents expect global issues like tariffs, the USMCA (U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement), and Brexit will have an impact on their sales over this holiday season. Almost one-fourth (24%) expect these issues to have a significant impact. 

In addition, almost one-third (31%) of respondents expect fulfilling orders to be their biggest challenge this holiday season, followed by staffing (29%), competition with larger companies (23%), and website functionality (17%).

When asked what is most important for a successful holiday season, almost half (49%) of respondents said fast international delivery services. Other responses included first-class customer service (31%), user-friendly e-commerce site (14%), and social media (6%).