E-Commerce and Its Effect on the Trucking Industry
The idea of traditional shopping is changing. As technology advances, consumers are not only wanting, but expecting the freedom to purchase from the comfort of their homes from stores around the world. This expectation has transformed the retail space to rely heavily on e-commerce options. According to data from Statista, global retail e-commerce sales will hit $4.5 trillion by the year 2021. This indicates a 246.15% growth from $1.3 trillion in 2014. However, with this growth, e-commerce is not only changing in-person retail but the distribution chain as a whole, including the trucking industry.
Does E-commerce growth reflect a healthy economy?
In short, yes. As with any retail growth, either onsite or on a site increased consumer spending is reflective of a healthy, thriving economy. This is represented in the low unemployment rates and increased demand in developing industries. With increased incomes and decreased unemployment rates, consumers are spending more than ever.
Strength in tonnage also shows that other parts of the economy besides online commerce and retail are doing well. This includes business investment, factory output and even construction.
According to the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry hauls nearly 71% of tonnage carried by all types of domestic freight transportation. The industry accounts for about $676.2 billion in freight business or 79.8% of total revenue.
How does a healthy retail industry affect the trucking industry?
It’s a simple fact. Trucking industry rates increase when the economy is up. As people buy more, either online or in-person, the demand for transportation of those goods increases. This, in turn, drives the demand for qualified semi-truck drivers and other transportation specialists.
E-commerce is also changing the way these goods are transported. As standard stores make the move to offer more online options, and as e-commerce sites like Amazon continue to become the norm, the amount of distribution centers is increasing. And as online commerce expands, more goods are moving through ports and the nation’s logistics network. Intense competition in the retail industry is demanding more distribution centers in closer proximity to both the consumer and the retail entity. Closer centers and increased amounts of goods, mean shorter distances for semi-truck drivers, but also mean increased demand for those short distances and successful deliveries.
However, the rates at which the retail and e-commerce industries are growing due to increased spending by consumers is far outpacing the ability of the trucking industry to bring in qualified drivers, technicians and specialists.
How is the trucking industry keeping up with demands?
While U.S. unemployment rates hold steady at 3.7% last month, matching the lowest rate in the economy since 1969, the trucking industry is still facing a deficit of qualified drivers, technicians and servicemen. This is driving companies to increase the draw for considering a career in the trucking industry, including increasing their average wages in order to be more competitive in the marketplace. According to Indeed, the average salary for a semi-truck driver is $73,469 per year in the United States. By increasing wages and benefits the trucking industry is hoping to attract more talent to meet the demands caused by economic growth.
As more semi-truck drivers hit the roads to meet demands of the growing trucking industry and economy, it is vital to the success of carriers to have fleets that are reliable with qualified workers to drive and service them. Nextran Truck Centers has locations in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the trucking industry, or is in need of sales and services to your current fleet, give us a call at one of our 16 locations.