Market Update: Holiday Shopping Season 2022

With the holiday season in full swing, Director of Strategic Accounts Mark Hicks shares whats impacting the pallet market now and what hes watching for in 2023.

Mark Hicks is Director of Strategic Accounts for 48forty Solutions and has been in the pallet industry for 15+ years. His team is responsible for managing, developing, and growing the e-commerce market.

Whats happening in the pallet market right now?

This time of year manufacturing is already completed. So manufacturing tends to be in Q2 and Q3 – building of those inventories, getting them started within the supply chain. Once inventories enter in the supply chain – as you get into the beginning of Q4 – that is just positioning of the product.

So youll see a slight uptick in business in September and October, as things start to get in position for the holiday season. And then at that point, come the week of Thanksgiving right up into the Christmas season, you will see a huge volume of consumers looking to buy pallets, move pallets, and pick up pallets outside of the supply chain.

What are you watching for 2023?

The inventory supply, as we look over the next six months or so, is really going to be dependent upon what this quarter ends up like. Where are the shoppers? Are people out there buying or are they holding back and only buying the essentials?

In the e-commerce market, theres a lot of activity going on, but youre seeing the consumer buying more household items. Thats just the things you need to live on, and youre not seeing so much of the high-end electronics and things of that nature. So itll be interesting to see where the consumer comes into play in all this and what they end up buying. And thatll take different segments of the retail market into different volumes.

At the end of the day, as it comes into January and February, and we see this flush of pallets, thatll be the key to whats going to transpire throughout the spring.

How does 48forty help customers plan for the future?

A big portion of what were doing is meeting onsite with customers, on a minimum of a quarterly basis, from a corporate perspective. Then throughout the quarter, were visiting the individual locations whether its retail or manufacturing. At that point, were giving them historical numbers. We always are providing year-over-year changes. So if we see a big spike in purchases at this one site within their company, that has never spiked before, we dig down and say, okay what has changed here? Whats driving this additional cost for you, and how can we fix it?

The important things with the customer are communication, open dialogue, and giving them historical reporting. We operate with 48forty in multiple different segments, so we handle just about every major retailer. So we can use some of those trends to help, maybe a new customer coming on board, and give our expertise in showing how each one of the quarters throughout the year changes behavior and volumes.