GLOBAL E-COMMERCE LOGISTICS MARKET
E-commerce is one of the fastest growing sectors when compared to other business sectors, Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the e-commerce growth to 25% in 2020 compared to the previous year. The pandemic has forced e-commerce onto many consumers who have rarely or never shopped via the Internet previously and expanded the use of current digital shoppers.
Retail e-commerce takes the lion’s share in the total e-commerce sector, the total sales in this sector has reached $ 3.9 Trillion and this is expected to reach $ 6.8 Trillion by 2025 with a year-on-year growth of 12%. Most of the large e-commerce are marketplace models like Amazon.com and Alibaba who have transformed their business to an e-marketplace connecting large pool of customer with vendors across nations and even cross border. Third party logistics service providers are trying to grab as much as market share provided by these marketplaces.
E-commerce logistics industry can be segmented as follows:
- Business Model
- Business to Business (B2B): e-commerce players connecting businesses is the B2B segment, there are a lot of players venturing into this segment for example players like Ninjakart in India who exclusively serve the retail stores by connecting them with farmers and manufacturers. This follows hip from store-to-store fulfillment model
- Marketplace: most of the e-commerce operate in this segment connecting the retails and manufacturers to the customers, in this segment logistics players use Distribution centers for fulfillment and the inventory risk is assumed by the retail player. This follows ship from store-to-home fulfillment model.
- Inventory Model: In this model e-commerce players hold inventory this gives them a strong control over inventory, they directly serve the customer with the inventory they have. This model is partly followed by Amazon in many countries and many of fashion apparel industries do follow this. But the market is moving from Inventory model to marketplace model. This follows ship from DC-to-home fulfillment model.
- Market they serve
- Domestic market: most of the e-commerce markets do operate in this market they connect the vendors and customer in one single nation. This is a popular in countries like US, India and China.
- International market: Some companies do connect players in different countries for trade this is either B2B or B2C, Amazon Global is a perfect example of this. Many Indian/ Chinese vendors do maintain inventory in United States Amazon global helps them by providing services like transportation, warehousing, freight forwarding and customs clearance. This is one of the fastest growing models as this helps in earning foreign exchange to export countries and help in managing the demand at importing nation. This is also a very popular model across the European Union.
- Government owned: For example, in India to facilitate better connectivity and bring more price transparency Indian government has initiated Kisan Rath mobile app facilitates farmers, FPOs and traders across India to search and contact the transport service providers for transporting the Agriculture & Horticulture produce. It connects them with the transport service providers, providing a wide range of trucks and tractor trolleys, and also allows posting the requirements of part-load as well as full-load. As this provides 3PLs with huge scope of contract logistics.
- Private owned: most of the players in the market are private owned like Amazon, e-bay, Alibaba, etc.
RECENT TRENDS IN THE INDUSTRY
- With the advent of Amazon into the pharmacy retail has given a huge potential to logistics players in both the forward and reverse logistics.
- Coronavirus pandemic has changed consumer spending patterns many of the larger retails have observed bulkier and less frequent orders, this is one good news for transportation industry which would see a high asset utilization with full truck loads, but this would put pressure warehousing space.
- FedEx Corp. has agreed to acquire ShopRunner, an e-commerce service that provides shipping for more than 100 brands, as the courier seeks to deepen its ties with online shoppers. This shows the 3PLs are moving fast into the e-commerce market this trend is likely to increase and bring the cost of transportation lower.
- This is not just in the US but Facebook Inc.’s $5.7 billion investment in a unit of India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. creates an e-commerce leviathan to take on Amazon.com and Walmart Inc. in one of the world’s most competitive internet arenas.
CHALLENGES THAT ARE LIKELY TO BE SEEN IN THE INDUSTRY
- Increasingly complex last-mile delivery, which can account for 30%-40% of the total cost of transportation.
- Reverse logistics as e-commerce merchandise is returned up to three times more frequently than products purchased in store.
- Digital would play a bigger role in e-commerce, 3PL with less technology adoption are likely to be pushed to the back seat and more mergers and acquisitions are likely to been seen in the near future.
- A tight warehousing labor market as e-commerce fulfillment requires three times as many employees per square foot than a traditional 3PL or Retail warehouse, with wages and incentives to retain employees are increasing and also driving increased use of autonomous robots to support activities such as picking and replenishment