Supply Chain

The retail supply chain ensures the delivery of finished consumer goods to private consumers through a variety of retail outlets. The complexity of the retail channel starts with the inventory processes, which are developing to be entirely digitalized. Apart from the order management system (OMS) of ERP platforms, retailers are adopting new solutions to plan and forecast product demand more efficiently.

Order fulfillment involves online and offline retail channels, and increasingly the two are merging, as purchases made online are often followed by in-store collecting or curbside pickup. The distribution of products will increasingly have stores as centers of micro-fulfillment facilities, thanks to their location in urban areas and proximity to the end consumer. When it comes to delivery, speed and low-cost are vital for retailers to satisfy consumers.

Main types of order fulfilment in third-party-logistics (3PL) warehouses
Share of SMBs using environmentally friendly logistics
U.S. monthly inventory to sales ratio

Industry trends

Using AI for maximum efficiency

Number of warehouse automation companies worldwide in 2023, by segment

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Further details: Visit original statistic Number of warehouse automation companies worldwide in 2023, by segment

In the link of the supply chain between order and delivery, speed is essential, as consumers demand fast delivery times. New technologies such as AI, computer vision, and machine vision provide a boost in this regard, from automating manual tasks such as picking and scheduling, to improving inventory management. In 2023 there were hundreds of warehouse automation companies worldwide, the highest number of which operated in the AGV/AMR segment.

AI, MV, and CV advantages in retail
U.S. best practices for faster order processing
Online delivery time expectation by country

Market segments

Criticisms of the apparel supply chain

Share in world exports of the leading clothing exporters in 2022, by country

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Further details: Visit original statistic Share in world exports of the leading clothing exporters in 2022, by country

The apparel industry sells billions of articles at retail every year, the majority of which are manufactured in Asian countries where production costs are lower than in Europe and North America, where many of the highest revenue markets are found. Fast fashion companies have a very fast stock turnover, rapidly producing clothes to the latest style at low prices. This has raised environmental concerns, due to emissions from production and distribution and high volumes of waste.

Number of Inditex product suppliers
Apparel production volume in China
Carbon footprint of European fashion retailers

State of the industry

  • Apparel supply chain worldwide
  • E-commerce logistics
  • Retail technology worldwide
  • Retail market worldwide
  • Trade in the U.S.
  • Sustainable fashion worldwide
  • Online food delivery in the U.S.
  • Online food delivery

Industry definition

The retail supply chain content presented by Statista covers retail inventory activities, as well as the amount of order fulfillment and deliveries carried out by retailers. Statistical data focuses on the supply of consumer products by retailers, including vendors selling products and services online. Additional insights are provided on the logistics of retail and the opportunities that new technologies are opening up in this sector. With a focus on the delivery of products rather than actual shopping, the content also displays consumer preferences when it comes to picking up and returning purchases.


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