Black Friday amplifies China – US air cargo surge
Black Friday has existed in the US in various forms for over 40 years. However, it’s only in recent years that Black Friday has achieved notoriety as one of the most lucrative days of the year for US retailers and shoppers.
Celebrated each year on the Friday following the US thanksgiving celebration, the event has come to be regarded as the starting gun for the Christmas shopping season – and for good reason. Last year, US consumers spent over $61.4 billion on Black Friday, which is a 130% increase on the total sales of 2005.
In response, retailers have become fiercely competitive as they strive to meet seemingly ever-increasing consumer demand. The knock on effect of this has a profound impact on the air cargo industry in the lead up to and during the holiday season.
Reto Hunziker, Group Cargo Director at Chapman Freeborn comments:
“The start of the holiday shopping period, signalled by Black Friday, has meant a definite increase in air cargo demand from Asia to the US – particularly out of key cargo hubs like Shanghai and Hong Kong.”
The situation this year has been further compounded by the ongoing US West Coast sea port crisis, which has seen huge disruption and delays to sea freight entering the US.
“Shippers are concerned that events in the US sea ports are threatening the on-time delivery of both general cargo and holiday goods. There is a lot of scheduled capacity on this trade lane which can cover much of the extra demand, but our offices in China and the US are also seeing increased demand for full charters.”
In fact, in the lead up to Black Friday on 28November, Chapman Freeborn’s air cargo charter experts in both Asia and the US have been called upon to provide bespoke charter solutions to time-pressured clients. Chapman Freeborn has been able to provide the most cost effective options by making use of full-charter, part-charter and empty leg solutions.
What is also notable is that the previously US-centric phenomenon is spreading; with many Canadian and Latin American retailers now observing the event. Black Friday has even made it across the pond as American-owned retailers observe the date in the UK and more recently, Europe as a whole. In particular, US-headquartered Amazon and Apple have been front-runners in expanding Black Friday in the online arena within the UK.
Certainly, if this expansion continues and the global growth rates of Black Friday sales match those seen in the US, the international retail space as we know it is set for serious change. As we’ve seen, the inevitable impact on supply chain and increase in air cargo demand is likely to go hand in hand.
Photo: B747-400F aircraft departing Hong Kong International Airport