More than half of U.S. ecommerce flowed through nine states in 2023. In addition, TikTok became a bigger priority in omnichannel planning for retailers over the past year. That’s according to a new report released by the fulfillment software provider ShipBob.
The company’s 2024 State of Ecommerce Fulfillment Report covered trends and changes observed in 2023, as well as priorities and choices ShipBob sees among its customers in 2024. In preparing the report, its authors surveyed 521 executives at ecommerce brands about their outlooks.
US states with most ecommerce orders
At a high level, the report showed that the four most populous U.S. states — California, Texas, Florida and New York — were responsible for 35% of the country’s ecommerce activity in 2023. Moreover, those states and five more — Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Washington — were the sources of 52% of overall ecommerce activity nationally during the year.
In recapping the activity, ShipBob noted that 83% of ecommerce brands across the board grew their revenue in 2023 year over year. 19% of the same group doubled their revenue over that time period. The report also characterized omnichannel strategies, which were pervasive among 48% of ecommerce brands surveyed. 48% indicated that they were currently selling on three or more different channels.
How ecommerce brands adapted in 2023
“For our third State of Ecommerce Fulfillment report, we saw that even with the many headwinds facing ecommerce brands, many were able to drive growth year over year,” says Dhruv Saxena, the CEO and co-founder of ShipBob. “This is not too surprising, as these entrepreneurs often mirror two of our core values in being resilient and being creative problem-solvers.”
The report tracked two main areas of decision-making related to growth targets: sales channels and fulfillment. In these spaces, it saw a handful of shifts.
“One of the creative and innovative ways that brands were able to drive growth, which is also backed up by the data in our report, was by expanding their sales and fulfillment footprint beyond the United States and increasing their sales channels to include new retail partners and marketplaces,” Saxena says.
Top sales channels for online retailers
ShipBob, which works with TikTok on a “Fulfilled by TikTok” offering for post-purchase experiences, named the social media platform as one of the emerging priorities for ecommerce brands selling across multiple channels.
Among companies surveyed, 2% named TikTok as a top priority — comparable to responses for eBay. The most common top sales channels were:
- Retailers’ own websites (54%)
- Amazon (22%)
- Retail/B2B (9%)
- Etsy (3%)
Notably, 10% of brands in the survey said they were interested in growing their TikTok presence in 2024. 64% of brands in the same survey expect to add at least one new sales channel this year.
Shipping and fulfillment trends for online orders
In shipping and fulfillment, some trends held steady. Nevertheless, one noteworthy spike occurred among brands that offered no free shipping options for their orders. 31% of those surveyed did not offer free shipping in 2023, up from 23% on the survey in 2022. That change was accompanied by a drop in the share of brands that always offer site-wide free shipping on domestic orders. That share fell to 27% in 2023 from 33.5% in 2022.
Digital Commerce 360 tracked a slight increase in Top 1000 retailers offering free shipping in 2022. That analysis can be found in the 2023 Ecommerce Fulfillment Report. More recently in 2023, Cyber Monday free shipping was also up by only one percentage point year over year among companies surveyed.
As retailers pursue new sales growth in 2024, ShipBob’s data suggests that international expansion may be one area of common focus. The report saw 21% of brands intending to start shipping orders to new countries. 31% did not ship outside of the U.S. in 2023. However, the total share of companies (32%) that did not ship internationally beyond their own borders and had no intent of changing in the coming year fell from 37% a year earlier.
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