According to an annual survey of retail trends released in October by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 90 percent of U.S. adults plan to celebrate the upcoming holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. U.S. holiday spending is expected to top $850 billion, with the average consumer spending $998 on gift-giving, holiday food, and décor.
Consumers are well aware of the supply chain challenges that the pandemic has exacerbated, and it is impacting their holiday shopping plans. According to the survey, more consumers were motivated to start shopping or browsing before November, with 77 percent of respondents citing avoiding the stress of last-minute shopping and not missing out on key holiday items. Nearly half are concerned they will have difficulty finding the electronics (44 percent), clothes (40 percent), and toys (28 percent) on their lists.
The unsung heroes of satisfied holiday shoppers and shippers are those employed in the ground transportation and logistics industry. Truck drivers, especially, have increasingly been recognized for their value to the American economy. Recently deemed as essential workers, the public perception of truck drivers has elevated as consumers have begun to respect the grit required to endure the pressures of the job, including navigating traffic, job isolation, on-time delivery expectations, and challenging working hours.
The designation as “essential” is truly accurate; trucking touches every product that goes from an American port or factory to a consumer’s doorstep, not to mention all the necessary inputs for construction, manufacturing, infrastructure improvements, medical services, and more. "Trucks will continue to be the dominant freight transportation mode for the foreseeable future," said Chris Spear, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations.
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