Last year both retailers and importers experienced a huge uptick in sales from e-commerce. According to a report by Adobe Digital Insights, between November 1 and December 31, online sales hit $91.7 billion, up 11% from $82.5 billion a year ago.

“While the disruptive force e-commerce has on the economy appears most prominently in the retail sector, this latest digitalization of trade will continue to change industry trade patterns and product distribution for years to come,” explains Marianne Rowden, CEO, American Association of Exporters & Importers .

“With growing internet penetration, a consistent customer shift from store to web shopping, and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, the growth of online shopping is massive,” Rowden added.

The group issued a report on the topic, that found that 51% of survey respondents experienced an uptick in sales through this channel.

The report draws on data from a January 2017 survey of over 250 supply chain professionals; manufacturers, shippers, logistics providers, and other related service providers.

Some survey highlights include:

  • 75% have an online sales channel
  • 65% of those who don’t have existing online channels are now planning to implement them in the near future
  • Nearly 36% experienced shipping/transportation challenges that impact retailers’ ability to achieve strategic goals and objectives
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accounted for the largest percentage of delays for imports
  • Cybersecurity was the top concern for shippers, followed closely by changing global trade regulations

“While there is clearly a large market opportunity associated with global e-commerce, there are challenges identified in the report that companies must face to create a successful e-commerce infrastructure,” says Gary Barraco, director, global product marketing.

 “To stay ahead of the e-commerce curve, companies must address primary gaps with a combination of technology, trade compliance knowledge, and automation.”