The Friday Report: November 16th, 2018

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Russia Replaces U.S. Soybeans for China Market

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reported that Russia plans to boost its production of soybeans for shipment to China.  Russia and China are also planning closer collaboration on additional agricultural products including poultry, pork, fish and rice.

Currently Russia is a very minor supplier of soybeans.  One of the impacts of American tariffs on China is that China and Russia have developed a closer working relationship and stronger ties.  Another impact on the burgeoning relationship is the Chinese Belt and Road initiative, which funds billions of dollars in infrastructure projects.

Although Russian exports to China are anticipated to grow, they are not anticipated to increase exponentially.  Due to the U.S. tariffs, China reduced American soybean shipments over 80 percent in September from 2017 rates.  Also, the China National Complete Engineering Corporation (CCEC) has agreed with the Ukraine government-controlled State Grain and Food Corporation to increase supplies.

2018 U.S. Holiday Retail Forecast Projected to be Strong

The National Retail Federation forecast strong holiday retail sales in November and December 2018. Not including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants, an increase of 4.3 to 4.8 percent is anticipated as compared with the average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years.  The NRF forecast is based on the general strength of the retail industry.

There was a 5.3 percent increase in retail sales in the United States over the previous year.  This was the largest increase since the 5.2 percent year-over-year increase in 2010 following the Great Recession.

For more detailed information, visit National Retail Federation’s Holiday Headquarters.

Online Shoppers Want Faster Delivery This Holiday Season

According to the 2018 Holiday Survey of Customers by Deloitte, consumers who start holiday shopping prior to Thanksgiving are expected to spend up to $370 more (a 28% increase) over late shoppers.  Of those who responded to the survey, two thirds of consumers reported that they are willing to pay more for sustainability.

42 percent of consumers relayed that they had previously been impacted by data breaches but noted that they would continue to shop at the same retailer if the company had taken action or if the consumer altered his or her method of payment.  61 percent of consumers indicated their willingness to share personal data but expected some type of special promotion in exchange.

51 percent of consumers reported that they plan to purchase gifts for themselves when shopping for others.  This trend has increased 15 percentage points since 2012.  Overall, consumers projected confidence and relayed a positive economic outlook.  47 percent of those surveyed anticipated the U.S. economy will improve.

All generations of consumers other than seniors indicated that they prefer online shopping to that of brick-and-mortar stores.  Consumers who shop online primarily choose this channel based on convenience and price whereas those who prefer physical stores do so because they prefer the interaction and inspiration of that type of shopping experience.

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