What to Expect in 2020

Retailers can expect e-commerce growth to continue to accelerate in 2020. 

That’s according to tech market advisory firm ABI Research, which said that total e-commerce revenue in 2020 will reach $3.52 trillion, an explosion that will force retailers to find faster and more convenient modes to reach the final mile and yard.

In its new whitepaper, 54 Technology Trends to Watch in 2020, ABI Research’s analysts identified 35 trends that will shape the technology market and 19 others that, although attracting huge amounts of speculation and commentary, look less likely to move the needle over the next twelve months. One trend that falls into the latter is self-driving trucks. The report noted that despite numerous headlines declaring the arrival of driverless, self-driving, or robot vehicles, very little, if any, driver-free commercial usage is underway beyond closed-course operations in the United States.

“Despite the successful primarily manned testing and early revenue operations, there are no known regulatory approvals or fully autonomous methods to address the first and last mile for heavy-duty big rigs through challenging urban and suburban locations,” said Susan Beardslee, freight transportation and logistics principal analyst at ABI Research.

According to the study, retailers will trade profits in 2020 to continue investments in the e-commerce explosion. This includes the increase of one-day delivery and seven-days-a-week delivery in 2020 to reduce “click-to-door” time and combat the Amazon effect. There is increasing convergence of online and in-store businesses, with brick and mortar positioned as hubs closer to the customer, as well as e-commerce sites directing package delivery to retail outlets, the report noted. Additive investment will grow in buy online pay in store (BOPIS) options.

Retailers need to address their increasing costs and consumer expectations through new business models and optimized transportation and logistics methods, advised ABI

“Amazon already felt the financial pressure in 2019, with North American margin compression, as it grew investments in its next-day Prime delivery, expected to impact Walmart as well. Other retailers have been pushed into offering expanded shipping options and reverse logistics in order to compete,” Beardslee said.

This article was written by Marianne Wilson.

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