The surge in e-commerce, driven by the coronavirus pandemic, has increased reliance on efficient supply chains, as warehouse and logistics workers are increasingly recognized for their role in ensuring minimal disruption.
Warehouse and distribution workers became key workers during the pandemic, delivering goods to the nation’s doors, at a time when online shopping spiked and ensuring supermarket shelves remained well-stocked.
Last year, 9 million Australian households shopped online – that is 82% of all households. We saw this play out in real-time. Every month during 2020, an average of around 1 million additional households shopped online compared to 2019.
With all this online activity, purchase volumes soared. Australians spent an incredible $50.46 billion online over the year, up from $32.1 billion in 2019 and accounting for 16.3% of retail spend.
With Australians spending more time at home in 2020, there was a significant increase in home deliveries – growing to 87.7% of all deliveries, up from 82% in 2019. Not surprisingly, both workplace and alternative collection points fell. CBD collections also declined as suburban collections increased.
Along with the geographical shift from CBDs to suburbs, there was also a shift in the types of collection points used. Alternative collection points grew 25.3% YOY in 2020 – yet this growth comes as no surprise given the marked increase in the number of online purchases throughout the year.
Workers looking to enter the supply chain industry will need to be multi-talented, with quick minds and problem-solving skills to unpick the logjams that occur. And companies that previously had not thought about their supply chain will now be seeing it with fresh eyes. Some retailers did not have their supply chains as a priority, but now, it has become something to think about very carefully in the future.
The future may be uncertain, especially when it comes to employment and the wider economy, but things are looking up for the supply chain.
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