Even before Black Friday on November 26th, the trade draws attention to itself with discounts. In times of lockdown, there is no rush to the shops and shopping streets. Instead, people are buying more online. According to a current study by the German digital association Bitkom conducted with 1,100 respondents, which was published on Tuesday, more than half of Internet users use the time-limited offers from retailers. 39% buy it spontaneously, 16% plan their Black Friday purchases in advance.
As sales move from the physical stores to the Internet, the post office and delivery services will also get busier. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the European parcel market was growing rapidly, making it much more convenient to purchase items online that get delivered directly to your door.
According to the findings of the brand research institute Industry Radar – CEP services, in 2019 the Swedish PostNord broke its record with more than one million e-commerce items delivered in 24 hours (728,000 packages and 285,000 goods letters) passing through its sorting terminals. In the US, Black Friday 2020 (Thanksgiving plus Black Friday) raked in $14.13 billion in online sales which is almost a 20% increase over 2019. The current Black Week and the online discount campaigns are again leading to a high point in parcel volumes worldwide.
Swiss Post expects 900,000 parcels a day
According to the parcel service GLS, parcel volumes have increased between 35% and 45% around Black Friday in recent years. In combination with the lockdown, the company expects a significant increase and a plus of 70% this year.
According to the Austrian Post, Black Friday in the middle of the Christmas business is not a particularly big “outlier” at this time of year. In general, the number of parcels has risen sharply in recent years. While there were 57 million parcels in 2010, there were already 166 million in 2020. According to its own information, Swiss Post currently expects around 900,000 parcels that are currently being handed over to them for transport on a daily basis around Black Friday. However, that includes the effects that the lockdown and Christmas business have on parcel volumes. However, the postal company is already planning for the days after Black Friday in order to be prepared for the high volumes of mail from its major customers.
DHL Express reported an increase in parcel shipments of around 40% during Black Friday and the 2020 holiday season. Based on the current performance of DHL Express, the company expects almost the same growth rate this year as it did in 2020.
Return rates remain unchanged
The companies cannot precisely estimate how many of the packages shipped around Black Friday will be returned. DHL was unable to provide an accurate estimate of Black Friday returns because most shipments would not be returned to sellers through their international network, the company said. The Austrian Post speaks of an overall return rate in the range of 12-13%. According to the company, the quota can fluctuate greatly depending on the industry and range from zero to almost 50%. Clothes and books are returned significantly more often than furniture, for example. Basically, the return rate is declining to stable.
Amazon wants to reduce plastic
The internet giant Amazon is again benefiting from the closed shops and increasing online purchases this year. In Austria, according to the EHI Retail Institute, the group has an annual turnover of more than 800 million euros. The group leads the list of the top-selling online retailers: inside by a large margin. Due to its monopoly position in the market, the company of multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos is repeatedly criticized. The working conditions of employees at Amazon are repeatedly criticized. Last year, employees accused the company on Twitter of funding think tanks that deny climate change.
The Amazon group was also criticized for producing too much plastic waste with its packaging and thus being responsible for the pollution of the seas. Now, according to media reports, the group announced on Monday – at the beginning of Black Week – that it wanted to reduce its plastic packaging in shipping. The packaging is to be converted by the end of the year. For smaller deliveries, the company wants to deliver paper-based mailing bags and bags, larger items in corrugated cardboard boxes. The change initially affects Amazon’s in-house products as well as goods that external dealers send via Amazon’s shipping service. However, this does not completely ban plastic packaging.