In the QAD Precision News Round-Up: 18 February 2022, global trade hit a record high in 2020; the UK and Scotland agree on two “green freeports”; US holiday returns up 56%; Crocs revenue up 67%; plus benchmarking your supply chain maturity and more.
In 2021, global trade reached a record high of $28.5 trillion according to a report by UNCTAD released on Thursday. This is a 25 percent rise compared to 2020 and a 13 percent increase from pre-Covid levels in 2019. Last year, trade in services expanded by $50 billion to $1.6 trillion.
According to the report, imports and exports in all major trading economies rose above levels in 2019. However, trade in goods grew more strongly in developing countries compared to developed countries. In developing nations, exports were approximately 30 percent higher than during the same period in 2020. In contrast, exports in developed nations were 15 percent higher. The UNCTAD report indicates that the growth in trade will abate during the first quarter of 2022. For more details, please see UNCTAD.
Following months of disagreement, UK ministers and the Scottish government have reached an agreement over proposed freeports in Scotland. The Scottish government resisted the idea of freeports and instead put forward green ports, based around low-emission industries and fair work practices. The deal appears to follow this model, however, with the name of “green freeports''. The proposed plan includes two green freeports, which can be rail or air hubs in addition to seaports.
In England, eight freeports with tax breaks are already confirmed. The tax breaks include no stamp duty, zero business rates for five years and rebates for investment in construction and machinery. In addition, the freeports will be subject to lower tariffs and customs regulations. For more information, please click here.
The value of exported goods from Ireland grew to their highest level on record in 2021, reaching just over €165 billion. These figures, from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office, showed that the country experienced an increase of 2 percent or €3 billion compared to trade levels in 2020. Additionally, the figures reveal that cross-border trade in goods between Northern Ireland and the Republic has expanded significantly in the first full year since Brexit.
The vast majority of exports were medical and pharmaceutical products, which made up 38 percent of total exports. In addition, imports reached €102.6 billion, an increase of 18 percent on a year earlier. This was also the first time that the value of imports into Ireland surpassed €100 billion. For more details, please click here.
In 2021, footwear brand Crocs achieved a record $2.3 billion in revenue. This represents a huge increase of 67 percent from 2020. During this period, operating income grew 219 percent, with operating margin just below 30 percent. All of the company's channels contributed to the growth in 2021. Direct to consumer revenue increased 64.4 percent to $1.1 billion, while wholesale grew 69.4 percent to almost $1.2 billion.
Digital channel sales expanded 47.6 percent last year, and accounted for 36.7 percent of total sales. This figure is down from 2020 when digital sales reached 42 percent but is an increase from 2019 when the total was 31 percent. Crocs estimate digital sales to reach $2.5 billion by 2026. For more information, please click here.
A report released by the US’s National Retail Confederation (NRF) has forecast that US consumers will return approximately $158 billion worth of goods purchased between November 1 and December 24. This figure represents an increase of 56 percent compared year over year.
In 2021, holiday retail sales soared to a record-high of $886.7 billion. However, the NRF expects that consumers will return 17.8 percent of those purchases, an increase from 13.3 percent in 2020. Furthermore, supply chain and covid-related issues will continue to drive the cost of each return higher. In 2020, the NRF estimated that consumers in the US returned a total of $101 billion worth of holiday goods. To learn more, please see Freight Waves.
To strengthen its network of US retail locations, DHL Express has opened a new mobile pop-up store in Austin, Texas. The new location is in response to both the increasing population in Austin and growing demand from the local technology and e-commerce sectors. For more details, please see AJOT.
If we know anything about 2022, it’s that this year is going to be full of uncertainties. Labor and material scarcities will continue to plague manufacturers, distributors, and customers alike.
Customer expectations have exploded due to the Amazon Effect. Customers, regardless of supplier, expect quick delivery methods with real-time transit visibility of products. However, that doesn’t mean global enterprises can’t have the tools to remain agile and meet consumer and industry demands as they happen. In this QAD Precision Report, we look at how to assess supply chain maturity within your enterprise to ensure success in 2022 and beyond. To read the full report, please click here.