It seems like just yesterday that non-essential businesses closed and basic household items like hand sanitizer and toilet paper were sold out at almost every grocery store. Sure, hand sanitizer shortages made sense given our need to keep our hands clean during the pandemic, but is toilet paper really the first thing on our minds when we prepare for a quarantine? As perplexing as this experience was, it brings an important truth to light – many products we didn’t expect have become top sellers during peak season and business trends can intensify as a result of COVID-19. Let’s explore the three unexpected top-growth markets that many warehouses have entered to diversify revenue sources.

1. Wine & Spirits Boom - I’ll Drink to That

With many bars still closed and virtual happy hours becoming the norm, wine and spirit sales boomed during the pandemic. According to a Nielsen study, wine sales are up 27% during the pandemic compared to the same time period last year. Maybe alcohol can be your warehouse’s next breakthrough product.

Nielson Retail Measurement for Alcohol Volume Growth During Covid-19

Source: Nielson Retail Measurement Services

Shipping costs can balloon for wine & spirit shippers, especially since alcohol receivers must sign to accept packages and verify their age, leading to many returned items when a recipient is not at home to receive a package. Tools like 3PL Warehouse Manager can help wine & spirit warehouses lower their shipping costs with rate shopping, selecting the carrier with the lowest rate for a given shipment speed.

2. Nutraceutical Growth: Health as an Investment, Not an Expense

When the pandemic first started, one of my first personal purchases was multivitamins from the grocery store and some extra protein powder. Yes, I was guilty of panic buying…but who wasn’t? Our experience with COVID-19 is unprecedented and many Americans wondered what would run out of stock and piled up “personal inventory” to avoid shortages for their families.

Faced with aging populations in North America and health-conscious consumers due to COVID-19 and other factors, people are investing more than ever before in nutraceuticals, which include dietary supplements, health products, beauty products, and more. According to a recent Business Wire press release, they expect nutraceutical industry sales to grow by $180 billion from 2020 to 2024. For the 3PL, investing in servicing nutraceutical clients can offer massive opportunities as the infographic below from the same article highlights the promising returns of nutraceutical logistics.

Global Nutraceuticals Market Growth forecast 2020-2024 and impact analysis of COVID-19 infographic

Source: Nutraceuticals Market by Product and Geography - Forecast and Analysis 2020-2024

3PLs specializing in nutraceutical fulfillment often need to track lot numbers of inventory, to provide assembly and kitting services, and to offer high-volume fulfillment services to customers. 3PL Warehouse Manager equips nutraceutical fulfillment operations with real-time inventory traceability, more efficient assembly and kitting, and accelerated high-volume fulfillment.

3. The Cold Storage Industry is Heating Up

Another emerging business trend is that more people are eating at home during the pandemic, fueling the need for cold storage warehouses to store more food at USDA-required temperatures and saving many consumer dollars in the process. Grocery sales alone in the U.S. represent $1 trillion and CBRE, a national commercial real estate firm, estimates that the demand for cold storage warehouse space will increase by 100 million square feet over the next 5 years. These warehouses have very specific needs:

cold storage 3PL warehouse facility layout with dock doors and refrigeration hardware

Source: NAIOP Development Magazine, Spring 2020 Issue

For warehouses investing in cold storage, they need a warehouse management system (WMS) partner and advocate like 3PL Central who can help them with traceability and in-depth lot tracking in case of an FDA-mandated recall.

To summarize three unexpected markets that your 3PL would benefit from investing in – wine & spirits, nutraceuticals, and cold storage – we encourage you to consider the unique warehousing needs of each market and the right WMS technology platform to support industry best practices. 3PL Warehouse Manager enables third-party logistics professionals to serve each vertical market’s specific needs by supporting capabilities like rate shopping to cut shipping costs for wine & spirit logistics, assembly and kitting for nutraceutical warehousing, traceability and lot tracking for cold storage fulfillment. To request a demo or consultation, click here.

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