Panjiva data points to positive holiday shopping season

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Data recently released from Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, showed overall strong global trade numbers for the month of September.

U.S.-bound waterborne shipments in September—at 1,155,361—were down 6 percent from August and down 9.4 percent from July’s 1,230,726 shipments, which was the highest ever month for shipments based on Panjiva data going back to 2007, when it first started collecting this data.

Even with a 6 percent sequential decline, this drop-off is in line with the same period in recent years, with a 4 percent decline from August to September in 2012, an 8 percent decline in 2011, and 7 percent, 5 percent, and 5 percent 2010, 2009, and 2008, respectively.  And on an annual basis, shipments are up 5 percent compared to September 2012.

What’s more, Panjiva officials pointed out that there has been a “run of very strong months for imports to the U.S.,” adding that despite reports of weakening consumer confidence the firm maintains there will be a “robust holiday shopping season”  this year.

Panjiva said the number of global manufacturers shipping to the U.S in September—at 169,837—was down 5 percent in September compared to August and was up 13 percent annually. Like imports, this matched up fairly closely with the same period in recent years, with a 4 percent decline from August to September in 2012, an 8 percent decline in 2011, and 6 percent, 5 percent,  7 percent, and 4 percent 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007, respectively.

A Panjiva spokesperson told LM that typically examines the third quarter to gauge the health of the holiday season to gauge the potential health of the holiday shopping season and said that in recent years the third has been relatively flat, which indicated that the holiday shopping season may be mildly disappointing for retailers albeit not terrible.

But this year is a different story perhaps.

“Over the last five months or so we have seen pretty robust month-over-month gains, and it looks like retailers are going to be stocking up and bringing a lot of goods into the U.S. for a strong holiday season hopefully,” said the spokesperson.

Panjiva CEO Josh Green recently told LM that there is a generally positive feeling among corporate buyers that is being reflected in its data, coupled with how its numbers over the course of this year have surprised in terms of how strong they have been.

“The intention now needs to shift to consumers and how they behave in this holiday season,” he said. “We are seeing from the data that corporate buyers are feeling optimistic and unquestionably that is a good thing, but if consumers are not as positive heading into the holiday season it could lead to a situation where retailers are left holding too much inventory. Hopefully that does not happen. Corporate buyers have placed their bet and hopefully it is the right one.”


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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