The 2018 Holiday Season Forecast For 3PL Warehouses

Date: July 9, 2018


Growth is in the Forecast For Holiday Season 2018

The holiday season is one of the greatest opportunities for 3PL warehouses to maintain and cultivate their long-term customer relationships. This is the time to delight eCommerce consumers and dazzle your clients by shoring warehouse processes, testing integrations, and defining the consumer journey before the craziness of the holidays begins.

It is projected that 2018 is going to be another record-breaking year. 3PLs need to be on top of their game to prepare for the peak demand headed their way so they can delight customers. Given our strong economy and consumer sentiment, experts are already predicting a growth rate as high as 4.4%1 on top of 2017's amazing totals. That will translate into enormous numbers in the 2018 Holiday Season.

Here are some of top stories recapping the 2017 Holiday Season along with forecasts for what we can expect in 2018:

Growth is in the Forecast for eCommerce and mCommerce

2018 holiday spending is expected to increase by as much as 4.4% which would take the retail total from the 2017 record $691.9 billion2 to a whopping $722.3 billion in 2018.

eCommerce sales also beat expectations in 2017 growing by 17.8% to $108.2 billion3. eCommerce is expected to grow by an additional 15.3% in 2018 to $124.75 billion4.

Total mCommerce (mobile-commerce) purchases rose to from $22.7 billion in 2016 to $31.8 billion in 20175. This was an increase of 40% over the previous year. Mobile commerce is predicted to grow by a further 32.7% in 2018 which will bring the 2018 total to $41.91 billion6.

More Consumers are Shopping Online

Black Friday alone pulled in $5 billion in 2017 but Cyber Monday hit a record $6.6 billion, which was the biggest online shopping day in history7.

Record number of deliveries for UPS, FedEx and USPS in 20178
  • UPS – A record number of 750 million packages delivered – up from 712 million in 2016
  • FedEx – A record number of 400 million packages delivered – up from 357 million in 2016
  • USPS – A record number of 850 million packages delivered – and 15 billion pieces of mail delivered in 2017, up from 750 million in 2016

3PL warehouses must be prepared to Handle Returns

Reverse logistics firm Optoro estimated that consumers would return $90 billion worth of goods from the 2017 holiday season9. Given the consumers’ demand for total satisfaction in every area it is expected that 2018’s return totals will be even higher.

The Competition to Hire Seasonal Workers will be Fierce

Low unemployment rates and tremendous demand throughout both the logistics and retail sectors will make hiring seasonal employees more of a challenge in 2018. Here’s how many seasonal employees companies hired in 201710:

  • Amazon - Estimated Seasonal Hires: 120,000
  • Target - Estimated Seasonal Hires: 100,000
  • UPS - Estimated Seasonal Hires: 90,000-95,000
  • Macy’s - Estimated seasonal hires: 80,000
  • FedEx - Estimated Seasonal Hires: 50,000
  • JC Penny - Estimated seasonal hires: 40,000

As you can see, the 2018 Holiday season will be both a challenge and an opportunity for everyone in the retail, eCommerce, and the logistics industry.

To help your warehouse prepare for peak season growth and turn the busiest time of year into an advantage for your warehouse, check out the Practical Guide to Growing Your 3PL Warehouse.


  1. https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/nrf-forecasts-retail-sales-will-increase-between-38-and-44-percent-2018
  2. https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/holiday-retail-sales-increased-55-percent-2017-exceeding-nrf-forecast-and
  3. https://marketingland.com/adobe-reports-2017-holiday-e-commerce-revenue-climbed-108-2b-beating-forecasts-nearly-1b-232193
  4. https://retail.emarketer.com/article/emarketer-projects-us-holiday-ecommerce-growth-of-153/5ab2c92aebd4000ac0a8acaa?ecid=NL1014
  5. https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2018/03/13/mobile-sales-key-driver-q4-2017-online-sales-growth/
  6. https://www.emarketer.com/Report/US-Holiday-Shopping-Preview-2018-Reviewing-2017-with-Eye-Toward-This-Season/2002214
  7. https://abcnews.go.com/Business/record-breaking-cyber-monday-sales-total-659-billion/story?id=51431412
  8. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/12/12/shipping-deadlines-dates-you-need-know-guaranteed-christmas-delivery/940296001/
  9. https://www.fungglobalretailtech.com/research/us-2017-holiday-retail-recap-season-exceeds-expectations/
  10. https://www.fastweb.com/career-planning/articles/who-s-hiring-for-the-holidays-companies-hiring-2017-seasonal-employees

3PL Central

Written by 3PL Central

The first cloud-based WMS solutions designed for 3PLs. Powerful, flexible, scalable, and specifically designed to help 3PLs and warehouses grow to the next level.