E-commerce has potential to bolster air cargo growth

Global e-commerce is projected to more than double over the next five years, growing from $1.7 trillion to $3.6 trillion by 2020. E-commerce sales in the US have grown 15 percent per year on average over the last 15 years, and stood at $342 billion in 2015.

The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing e-commerce trading bloc, with China at the forefront. China is the world’s largest e-commerce market with $590 billion of goods sold in 2015. Online retail sales in China were half that of the US in 2010 and by 2013 surpassed the US, growing at an average of 56 percent per year. Domestic China parcel shipments and revenue grew 55 percent and 39 percent per year respectively from 2010 to 2015. It is forecast that by 2020, China’s e-commerce market will be bigger than the combined existing markets of the US, Britain, Japan, Germany, and France.

The emergence of FedEx in 1971 ignited the express revolution, providing nationwide door-to-door delivery of documents and small packages within one to two days. The explosive growth of e-commerce demand for business to consumer (B2C) deliveries of retail purchases may usher in the next freight transportation revolution. The major express carriers, including UPS, DHL, and FedEx, as well as newer entrants such as SF Express in China, all serve e-commerce flows. Amazon has begun building its own logistics network to augment capacity provided by others.

China online retail sales have overtaken the U.S. to become world’s largest national e-commerce market