This holiday season is off to a record-breaking start; from Black Friday, to Cyber Monday and beyond, sales have skyrocketed in store and online. In fact, a record-breaking $6.22 billion was reported from online sales alone this Black Friday, which is a 24 percent increase from last year. And not only are there more sales this year, but the average order value has increased to $146, an 8.5 percent increase from 2017. Cyber Monday also had its most-ever sales at $7.9 billion, a 19.4 percent increase from last year’s $6.6 billion.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), November and December make up nearly 20 percent of annual retail sales, and this number is only expected to rise. These increased sales mean big things for the U.S. economy and businesses everywhere. They also force consumers to reflect on how important truck drivers and the freight industry are during the holiday season.
Communities Rely on the Trucking Industry
Studies show that 80 percent of communities across the U.S. receive all of their goods by truck. That means that without truck drivers, the large majority of the U.S. would not have access to food, clothes or supplies all year-round. This becomes even more prevalent during the holiday season, as families around the country rely on truckers to deliver the food, decorations, and gifts to help fulfill their family traditions.
Without truck drivers, packages would not arrive at people’s homes in time for Christmas or other days of celebration, office shelves and storage closets would remain empty year-round, and retail establishments would have no products to sell. Especially in areas that have no alternative means of delivery, businesses rely on weekly or monthly shipments from reliable truck drivers in order to make a profit throughout the season.
Truckers Help Keep Holiday Roads Safe
During Thanksgiving alone, an estimated 54.3 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles away from their homes; a 4.8 percent increase from last year. As more and more people start traveling for the holidays, the risk of accidents also increases. However, each year, truckers are doing their part to keep the roads as safe as possible through extensive training, innovative technology and safety communication campaigns. In fact, the American Trucking Association invests over $9 billion annually into these facets. This is to ensure truckers are well-trained and given the best, most up-to-date vehicles possible, so that everyone can arrive safely during the holidays and year-round.
Rise of Online Shopping and the Freight Industry
Because of the rise in Amazon’s frictionless shopping experiences, low prices, and same-day / two-day deliveries, consumers now have heightened expectations when it comes to shopping. People want a personalized experience, the lowest price, and as little social interaction as possible. Most importantly, they want their merchandise immediately. This phenomenon called “The Amazon Effect,” has left traditional online and retail stores to alter their business models to keep up. However, for many businesses across America, competing with Amazon will be impossible. In fact, industry analysts project that 20 percent of retail stores will be permanently closing their doors in the next 5-7 years.
For the businesses that wish to stay afloat, fast shipping is a must. This has inspired solo truckers to pair up, so they can alternate shifts and keep the truck moving all day and night. One trucker will sleep while the other drives, usually switching every 10 hours. Fast shipping is especially important during the holidays because the percentage of online shoppers increases dramatically during this time. Last year, for example, there was a 16.9 percent increase in online shopping during the fourth quarter. Truck drivers have to work tirelessly to make sure every gift, package and holiday parcel arrives at its destination on time.
The Demand for Truckers is Increasing
As time goes by, despite concerns about new AI, the need for truck drivers is only going to increase. According to the American Trucking Association’s “U.S. Freight Forecast to 2024,” there will need to be a 20 percent increase in freight volumes of all kinds to keep up with demand by 2024. This report, originally published in 2013, has proven prophetic in the increase we have already seen within the trucking industry, and the numbers are only getting higher. Additionally, due to the new tariffs rolling out against overseas trade, U.S. trucker demand will skyrocket again as more and more goods are manufactured and distributed in the U.S.
Tis the season to be grateful for truckers everywhere, and if you are considering becoming a commercial truck driver yourself, there is no better time to get started. Jumpstart the process and get yourself behind the wheel of a big rig as soon as possible and leave your financing needs in the capable hands of Mission Financial.