Oct 9, 2019

The global shipping explosion

Inside the massive Nanjing warehouse of Chinese retailer Suning. Photo: Visual China Group/Getty Images

The world shipped 2,760 packages per second in 2018.

The big picture: That's a total of 87 billion parcels for the year, according to new data by shipping services company Pitney Bowes, provided first to Axios.

  • The total is up from 74.4 billion in 2017.

Why it matters: The rise of retail giants like Amazon, Alibaba and Rakuten is driving consumers' demand for a constant stream of parcels to their doorsteps — delivered fast and for free.

But, but, but: The demand for delivery comes with a steep environmental cost. Transportation is a larger contributor to climate change than any other industry.

  • China alone accounts for nearly 60% of the global parcel volume. The country shipped 50.5 billion packages last year.
  • The U.S. is next, with 12.5 billion, then Japan, with 9.4 billion.

Go deeper

Apple: iPhone 11 off to "very, very good start"

Apple CEO Tim Cook introducing the iPhone 11 Pro. Photo: Apple

Apple delivered a generally positive earnings report on Wednesday, with CEO Tim Cook telling Reuters that iPhone 11 sales are off to a "very, very good start."

Why it matters: The iPhone is the bulk of Apple's business and critical to driving demand for its other products.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019

U.S. farmers could really use some help

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Investors have been basking in the glow of the "phase one" trade deal between the U.S. and China, but farmers, who are supposed to be the main beneficiaries of the agreement, have reason to be wary, experts say.

What's happening: U.S. farmers have been suffering this year. Chapter 12 bankruptcies have risen 24% over the previous year, and farm debt is projected to hit a record high $416 billion.

Go deeperArrowNov 5, 2019

Why Amazon keeps spending big on grocery delivery

An Amazon Fresh delivery worker makes a stop. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amazon is losing billions of dollars as it expands free, fast shipping. Still, the company keeps doubling down and debuting two-hour grocery delivery at zero cost to Prime members in new markets.

The big picture: The American food market is worth a whopping $700 billion, but that's not why Amazon is chasing it. Consumers shop for food more frequently than anything else, and Amazon is betting that getting people to visit its site whenever they need groceries will turn them into loyal, lucrative customers.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019