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DHL customers prefer root canals to late shipments

In DHL’s 2017 Holiday Survey, 27 percent of the integrator’s customers surveyed said that they would “rather get a root canal than have personal holiday shipments come late,” which suggests that some 27 percent of customers haven’t yet experienced the skull-splitting agony of the dentists’ drill burrowing into their molars.

Regardless, there’s a lot of pressure on the express business to make deliveries on time this holiday season, and DHL has joined its competition in predicting yet another year of record-breaking e-commerce sales.

DHL sent surveys to more than 100,000 U.S. customers and received about 1,400 responses. The replies reveal shippers’ angst about meeting the expected surge in orders, with almost half (46.8 percent) of shippers saying that their “biggest business challenge during the holiday season” was getting orders out on time. That’s why it’s also interesting that more than 84 percent of DHL customers surveyed also said that they didn’t plan to hire temporary staff over the season. Presumably it’s easier to scale to meet e-commerce growth than conventional retail.

DHL’s findings also corroborated findings by the World Trade Organization (WTO) which found that, despite protectionist rhetoric, global trade and positive attitudes towards cross-border commerce were actually on the upswing. “The world is your oyster,” DHL said, urging customers to, “think globally during the holidays,” in response to the 58 percent of respondents who said that since the start of 2017, global trade had improved sales.

Conversely, just over 12 percent of respondents said that global trade had a negative impact on their businesses, suggesting that, while global trade creates winners and losers, DHL’s customers are overwhelmingly in the former camp.