Characterized as a year of recovery, innovation, and overcoming challenges, 2021 is year worth reflecting on. Following one of the most difficult time periods in recent history, the global economy has made strides in its return to a new normal. COVID-19 invited many challenges to supply chains, and as borders re-opened across the world, operations in all industries resumed their efforts towards growth.
A good example is that peak season started earlier this year and operators are working around the clock, to ensure that items are delivered on time for holiday celebrations. One of the biggest achievements for postal networks worldwide is the amount of volume they are capable of serving this time of year, compared to last year. Many postal operators have prepared their networks to handle spikes in daily volume during this peak season. For example, Canada Post expects to handle 54 million packages from the start of November through the end of December, and has hired thousands of additional workers to effectively serve that level of volume.
Border closures and stay-at-home mandates, among other conditions, forced people across the world into digital buying behaviours as opposed to conventional shopping, which was largely unavailable for an extended period of time. Online shopping has always been popular, and has considerably increased since the global pandemic. This change in buying behaviour is felt most evidently during peak shopping season, which includes some of the largest shopping days across the world, like Singles’ Day in China, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. Online marketplaces for the likes of Amazon, Alibaba, and many others across the globe became, remain a routine channel for customers shopping needs. An extremely large portion of this volume is low-value and low-weight; a segment that postal networks have historically been successful at serving. EMS is a perfectly placed service that can deliver many seasonal online shopping purchases from companies, or deliver gifts to friends and families around the world.
To illustrate the sheer volume of sales during these shopping days, just in the early days of November 2021 in China for Singles Day, Alibaba and JD.com online retailers in China, recorded sales of gross merchandise volume of approximately $139 billion. On Singles’ Day, November 11, a total of 1.16 billion packages were transported in China. For 2021 the e-commerce market has adapted in an interesting way, with many of these large shopping days, such as Cyber Monday, being spread out over the course of multiple days as opposed to limiting customers to a 24-hour window. Not only is this good for customers but it also means that rather than a peak, postal operators can work throughout the season to get items delivered on time for holiday celebrations.
We thank our EMS members around the world who are working to deliver items and make the seasonal celebration of gift giving such a joyous occasion, and this year will be no different. Reliability has been, and will continue to be the reason that EMS makes the holiday season special.