The economy is improving and consumer confidence is rising. That means that the retail industry can expect an unprecedented surge in holiday spending especially on that day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday. Black Friday is generally regarded in the US as the start of the Christmas shopping season. Most retailers operate on extended hours and offer numerous sales promotions to entice more consumers. In most cases, retailers have to hire seasonal workers to cover the extraordinary volume of business.
The flurry of activities during the busy holiday shopping season is not confined to workers in the retail industry. There is the carryover effect on the transport industry, which bears the brunt of the holiday rush in terms of moving all the freight from the point of manufacture to the retail warehouses.
More Freight to Move
Weeks before the start of the holiday shopping season, retailers stock up on inventory. And many more weeks before that, maybe months, the manufacturers were already busy jacking up production to meet the holiday orders. Activities on both fronts, manufacturing and retail, necessitates massive movement of freight – from suppliers of raw materials to the manufacturers, and from manufacturers to the retailers. The trucking industry benefits from this in terms of more freight to be moved from one point to the other. This will translate to additional freight trips and increased profitability for the trucking companies.
More than any other period during the year, truck drivers are hard-pressed to deliver their freight on time as everybody is working under time constraints. Manufacturers have to unload their warehouses of finished products to make room for the continuous production on the floor. Retail warehouses are also open almost 24/7 because of influx of delivery trucks coming from different manufacturers. Retail warehouses need to move their products to the retail stores.
Stuck in Traffic
The weeks before Black Friday are characterized by dizzying movements of goods and people. The situation becomes even worse for truck drivers who have to battle worsening traffic because almost all freight trucks are out on the roads.
Truck drivers doing freight delivery for the holiday season shopping do not get any relief from their busy schedule until the holidays are over. They are stuck in traffic for most part of the holiday season – away from their families. But they need to keep the freight moving. They need to keep the economy going so they keep on driving all throughout the holidays.
Holiday retail sales in the US are estimated to be around $630 billion a year while the e-commerce holiday season sales are approximately $94 billion a year. The holiday season sales alone positively impact different sectors of the economy, the trucking industry included. The total trucking industry generated $726.4 billion revenue in 2015 and it is expected to top that this 2016, especially with expected increased revenue for the holiday season.