Cathy Roberson, Ti's Senior Analyst and author of the North American E-commerce report explains why e-commerce is a key focus of many transportation companies: "It's evident from the recent numbers of Cyber Monday purchases in the US that e-commerce will continue to grow as more consumers are exposed to shopping online," Roberson stated. "As online orders increase, retailers will need to keep up or risk losing out to companies that can perform better in the market. This report aims to help retailers as well as transportation and logistics providers better understand the logistics of e-commerce."
Recently, e-commerce retailers have sought ways to overcome advantages brick-and-mortar stores may still have over ordering online. One example identified in Ti's report is the growth of same-day delivery as a key delivery option for e-commerce shipments. Although same-day delivery was previously an option mostly offered by couriers and smaller regional transportation companies, larger providers like UPS and the United States Postal Service are also experimenting with ways they can deliver packages the same day they are ordered. "E-commerce saw a large number of same-day delivery programs introduced in 2012," Roberson noted. "Although many programs are only offered in a few local markets, it is likely same-day offerings will expand as e-commerce grows."
Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, is also one potential facilitator of e-commerce's recent growth. Consumers are no longer limited to accessing the Internet from a desk, but instead they can shop from almost anywhere they have cell phone service. In addition to the increase among consumer purchases, m-commerce is also changing the way businesses make purchases.
Within each country, Ti identifies several challenges e-commerce faces in Canada, Mexico, and the US. While selling overseas and the resulting issues with customs clearance and delivery times are problems in any country, they are most notable in Canada and Mexico, where there are few large e-commerce players housed within the countries' borders. Even in the US, e-commerce is challenged by the collection of state sales taxes – an issue that has some large e-commerce players taking sides.
The overall e-commerce market is expected to make double-digit gains in Canada, Mexico, and the US through 2015, and as a result this will continue to spur growth in e-commerce logistics. Ti estimates that the e-commerce logistics market size was over $40bn in 2012, and it is expected to grow over 10% through 2015. Although the US will account for almost 90% of this market, the continued expansion of e-commerce in Canada and Mexico will likely keep pace as the countries find their own ways to overcome the challenges of adopting e-commerce.
North American e-commerce Logistics 2012 is the first in Ti's e-commerce series. European e-commerce Logistics and Asia e-commerce Logistics will be published in early 2013. In addition, Ti will publish a Global e-commerce Logistics whitepaper.