How Has Increased Vaccination Rates Affected US E-Commerce Logistics?

Sep 15, 2021

(Click to view the HD version of the infographic)

Recently, we have been reporting on COVID’s impact on e-commerce logistics in places like Europe and Australia. But how has e-commerce logistics changed since vaccinations started getting rolled out, particularly in the US?

The US started vaccinating its population from as early as December 2020 and have significantly ramped up their vaccination effort this year. As of June 2021, 46% of its population have been fully vaccinated and the number continues to trend upwards. 

With more people getting vaccinated, we have observed some notable changes when it comes to:

  • Growth in shipment volume

  • Ratio of parcels delivered on the same day

  • Proportion of parcels delivered to collection points

Note: This report will cover the pre-vaccination period (H2 2020) and post-vaccination period (H1 2021) and see how they match up to each other. 

Let us take a closer look at the latest data:

E-Commerce growth in the US is not stopping

The pre-vaccination period saw a 17.4% growth in shipment volume as compared to a significantly lower 1.4% growth after the vaccine roll out. Despite the lower rate of growth, this still indicates a continuous growth in the consumption of e-commerce products even after vaccinations.

With estimates of e-commerce hitting $1 trillion in 2022, the e-commerce boom shows no signs of stopping which explains the continuous growth in shipment volume. In fact, consumers spent $121 billion alone online early this year even as more people get vaccinated.

However, the slower parcel volume growth in H1 2021 can be explained by the rise of physical retail as people head back to shop for essentials after getting vaccinated — as much as 35% of American consumers have made increased visits to grocery stores since receiving the vaccine. Foot traffic to US malls have steadily gone up since the end of year 2020, increasing as much as 20% weekly from February through March 2021.

Another reason for the higher shipment growth in H2 2020 was because this period preceding the roll out of vaccines also included peak season shopping holidays such as Black FridayCyber Monday, and Christmas, which saw carriers delivering over 3 billion parcels — a record-breaking number in 2020. This is also another explanation for the significant growth in parcel volume in the pre-vaccination period as compared to the post-vaccination period which only comprises H1 2021. 

There was a dip in same day deliveries post-vaccination

The same day delivery ratio before vaccines were rolled out stood at 1.2%, with this number dipping to 0.8% in the post-vaccination period.

Both periods generally saw a significantly low proportion of same day delivery. This is due to the constant delivery delays experienced in 2020, where the average transit time stood at 3.2 days. Amazon, the largest online store in the US that sells a wide range of items, saw severe delivery delays at the onset of the pandemic and was unable to offer same day delivery to shoppers. The delayed deliveries persisted even in 2021, which is why the ratio of same day delivery remains low. 

The even lower ratio of same day delivery in H1 2021 is a combination of both delayed deliveries, as well as consumers increasingly purchasing items from abroad amidst a growing cross-border e-commerce market. With more US consumers shopping from foreign stores online, shoppers would see an increase in the time taken for their goods to be delivered from abroad. 

Additionally, more shoppers returned to physical stores to shop in the post-vaccination period. It is likely that these consumers are making same day purchases in-person as opposed to waiting for their online shopping orders to arrive, explaining the fall in same day deliveries in 2021.

More parcels were delivered to collection points in the post-vaccination period

4.7% of parcels were delivered to collection points during the post-vaccination period as compared to the 1.0% of parcels in the pre-vaccination period. 

This notable increase is due to how there was an increased reliance on home deliveries in 2020. This is in contrast to 2021 where the vaccine roll out encouraged more consumers to use alternative delivery methods. 

One likely cause for the greater use of collection points in 2021 is due to how collection points are more complementary to the urban lifestyle of shoppers. 2021 saw more people returning to the office for work. The return to the office, combined with the accessibility of collection points in urban areas, are possible factors explaining the higher proportion of orders delivered to collection points. 

Moreover, an increasing number of American consumers are preferring alternative delivery methods over standard delivery options. For instance, ‘Buy Online, Pickup In-Store’ (BOPIS) experienced a 67% year-on-year growth in February this year, showing an increased adoption of other forms of delivery.

With more shoppers getting vaccinated, returning to work, and being more open to alternate delivery methods, we expect the use of collection points to rise with time. 

What will happen in H2 2021? 

With the delta variant spreading rapidly among the population on the one hand, and the slowly increasing uptake of the vaccine in the US, the state of e-commerce logistics in a post-vaccination era remains uncertain. We look forward to seeing how this will develop over the remaining half of the year, especially during peak season at the end of 2021! 

For more exclusive reports, insights, and interviews on the latest updates in e-commerce and logistics, follow us on LinkedIn or join our community as a member.

Share this with your network

Also worth your time

Follow us on LinkedIn
Stay connected with us

Track your parcel here

More discoveries

Planning for Peak Season 2022: E-Commerce Shopping Trends in the United States

Aug 16, 2022

Retail Dive: Online Retail Sales in the United States to Hit $1.6 Trillion Mark by 2027

Aug 16, 2022

Funding Roundup: Major Wins for CleverTap, Locad, ReturnLogic and Others

Aug 12, 2022

PR Newswire: Purolator Transforms Transportation Sector With Its New Sortation Facility in Toronto

Aug 12, 2022

Alcott Global Podcast: Carbon Neutrality in a Shipping Company

Aug 11, 2022

FreightWaves: FedEx to Apply Peak Season Surcharges As Early As September

Aug 11, 2022

E-Commerce Logistics Race in Latin America: Which Country Performed the Best in H1 2022?

Aug 10, 2022

The Business Times: A.P. Moller - Maersk Purchases Martin Bencher Group for US$61M

Aug 10, 2022

Funding Roundup: Bizongo, Homzmart, Vetted and Others Secured Early-Stage Deals

Aug 05, 2022

How Peak Season 2022 in Europe Might Look Like

Aug 05, 2022

TechCrunch: Shopify Invests $100 Million in a Marketing Automation Startup, Klaviyo

Aug 05, 2022

ITLN: Xpressbees Names Suraj Bangera as Senior Vice President of Cross-Border Business

Aug 04, 2022

Retail Dive: Amazon Launches Same-Day Shipping for Pacsun, GNC, SuperDry, and Diesel Customers

Aug 03, 2022

E-Commerce Logistics Race in Europe: Which Country Performed the Best in Q1 2022?

Aug 02, 2022

Supply Chain Dive: OnTrac and LaserShip Introduce Transcontinental Delivery Service to Prepare for Peak Season

Aug 02, 2022

Alcott Global Podcast: Importance of Supply Chain in Stationery Industry

Aug 01, 2022

Guest Post: 10 Ways Retailers Can Inspire Customers During Peak Season

Aug 01, 2022

Funding Roundup: Early Funding Rounds Secured by Cartona, DealCart and Others

Jul 29, 2022

Vogue: Glossier Launches into Wholesale Partnership with Sephora

Jul 29, 2022

E-Commerce Logistics Race 2022: Canada vs the United States

Jul 28, 2022

Macau Business: DHL Express Names Phil Corcoran as Australia’s Managing Director

Jul 28, 2022

Top E-Commerce Retailers in the United States 2022

Jul 27, 2022

Logistics Manager: InPost Now Has 4000 Parcel Lockers in the UK

Jul 27, 2022

Marketing Interactive: L'Oréal Appoints Kenny Ng as Regional E-Commerce Director

Jul 26, 2022

Guest Post: Why Logistics and Supply Chain Management Is Important

Jul 26, 2022