The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently noted that e-commerce has been a key growth driver for air cargo operators over the past few years but the surge in this vertical is not yet enough to buck the decline in air cargo triggered by ongoing trade wars, and a general economic slowdown worldwide.
IATA said in a statement that the share of online sales, remains relatively small, despite its rapid growth rate in recent years.
"While the ratio of global trade to industrial production has been trending sideways since the global financial crisis, online sales have been rapidly increasing as a share of total retail sales," the industry association said.
"E-commerce is certainly becoming an increasingly important part of the operations for many cargo carriers, but at this stage, the volume of online sales simply isn't large enough to single-handedly reverse the fortunes of the air cargo industry and overcome the current headwinds," it added.
Market research firm, eMarketer, estimates that global e-commerce will rise by 20.7% in 2019 to $3.535 trillion and could grow by 2021, to a whopping $5 trillion market.
Various airlines are also recently moving resources to take advantage of the growth in e-commerce which is expected to be among the growth pillars for the industry in the coming years, along with the transport of perishables and pharma products.
IATA, a trade association of the world’s airlines, has 290 airline members, representing 117 countries. IATA's member airlines also account for carrying approximately 82% of total available seat miles air traffic.