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34+ 3PL Industry Statistics You Need to Know in 2024

by Carllaen Joshua Gonzales 03 Jan 2024 0 Comments

Welcome back to another WarehouseWiz deep dive into the logistics world. In this article, we're exploring the most important Third-Party Logistics (3PL) industry statistics. From trends to industry challenges, we've gathered these insights from reliable sources, showing us the story and evolution of 3PLs. These key statistics will provide you with meaningful insights about the role of 3PL in shaping the future of efficient and streamlined operations. Let's get started!

We've broken down the 3PL Statistics into the following categories:

1. Warehouse automation and market trends 
2. Warehouse space utilization and technology adoption
3. Labor shortages and automation strategies
4. Cold chain capacity expansion
5. Transportation challenges and customer satisfaction
6. Industry statistics and pricing trends


3PL Industry Statistics

Warehouse automation and market trends

  • In the past 5 years (2018 to 2023), the market size of the Third-Party Logistics (3PL) industry in the US has grown 2.3% per year on average. (IBISWorld)
  • As of 2021, the global third-party logistics (3PL) market had a valuation of $1.3 trillion, and it is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8% from 2022 to 2031, ultimately reaching a value of $2.8 trillion. (Allied Market Research)
  • By 2026, the worldwide warehouse automation market is expected to exceed 30 billion U.S. dollars, up from 15 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. Warehouse automation is the process of improving repetitive and labour-intensive operations that are traditionally carried out by human workers. (Statista)

3pl statistics

  • The number of warehouses worldwide is expected to reach 150.6k by 2025. (Statista)
  • The number of SKUs in a warehouse can impact its efficiency, with higher SKU counts leading to increased difficulty in managing inventory. (WERC)
  • In 2018, the average number of SKUs in a warehouse was 13,985, up from 13,130 the previous year. (G2)
  • According to the 2022 Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Warehouse Benchmark Report by Extensiv, finding and retaining workers are the top two challenges for 3PL warehouses. (Extensiv)

Warehouse space utilization and technology adoption

  • Warehouse space is the single largest expense for most 3PLs. (Extensiv)
  • The average size of a warehouse is 181,370 sq ft. There’s a continuing trend where the average warehouse size is increasing every year. (G2)

3pl average warehouse size

  • 59% of warehouses report that they utilise more than 90% of their space, and 28% report that they utilise between 80% and 89%. (Extensiv)
  • A majority of 3PL warehouses report that once they reach 80%–85% space utilization, their efficiency drops. (Extensiv)
  • For a majority of 3PL warehouses (59%), labor makes up 33% or more of their total costs. (Extensiv)
  • The most widely implemented technology for 3PLs in 2022 was warehouse management systems (WMS), with a staggering 87% adoption rate. Following closely behind were order management, implemented by 52% of companies, and mobile barcode scanning, which was implemented by 51%. (Extensiv)

3pl stats technology adoption

  • 93% of 3PL users believe that strong IT capabilities are an important component of a 3PL partner, with 55% stating that they’re satisfied with their 3PL’s IT abilities. (3PLWorldwide)

Labor shortages and automation strategies

  • 56% of 3PLs and 78% of shippers said labor shortages impacted their supply chain operations in 2022. (3PLStudy)
  • As of 2023, 83% of 3PLs and 70% of shippers are exploring labor alternatives by implementing or researching technology and automation to address talent shortages. (3PLStudy)
  • 29% of 3PLs and 27% of shippers believe there has been a permanent shift in the talent crisis in the past year. (3PLStudy)
  • 49% of 3PLs and 32% of shippers can fill hourly worker positions in less than a month, while 41% of 3PLs and 51% of shippers take two to three months. It takes longer to hire salaried/professional positions, with 61% of 3PLs reporting it takes two to three months, compared to 49% of shippers. (3PLStudy)

Cold chain capacity expansion

  • 82% of shippers and 84% of 3PLs believe that demand for cold chain capacity will increase over the next three years.
  • A majority of 3PL warehouses (72%) intend to continue expanding their cold chain capacity over the next 3 years to meet demands.

Cold chain 3PL statistics

Transportation challenges and customer satisfaction

  • The trucking industry is facing a significant shortage of drivers, which has reached an all-time high of 80,000. This shortage is especially acute in the longer-haul, for-hire truckload market. This shortage can lead to supply chain disruptions and increased costs for shippers and 3PLs who rely on trucking as a mode of transportation. (3PLStudy)
  • Domestic transportation, which makes up 86% of outsourced activities, is the most frequently outsourced supply chain function. Following closely behind is warehousing, with 66%, and freight forwarding with 44%. (3PLStudy)
  • In 2023, 83% of the users of 3PL and 4PL services report that they are happy with their services. 3PLs report a satisfaction rate of 99%. (3PLStudy)

3pl customer satisfaction

  • 71% of 3PL customers say that using a 3PL has helped them improve customer service. (3PLStudy)
  • Over half of the 3PLs (53%) are capable of fulfilling orders in under an hour, with 29% of them reporting order fulfilment within just 30 minutes. (Extensiv)

Industry statistics and pricing trends

  • There are 761,474 people working in the 3PL and 4PL logistics industry in the US as of 2023. (IBISWorld)
  • Nearly 53% of third-party logistics providers (3PLs) consider automating their warehouse processes to be a top opportunity in 2023. (VentureBeat)
  • 50% of 3PL warehouses offer month-to-month terms, 61% offer annual, 26% offer multi-year, and 16% offer no-term. (Warehousing and Fulfillment)
  • 72% of 3PL warehouses increase pricing regularly, with 71% doing so annually, 23% every 2 years, 3% every 5 years, and 3% quarterly. (Warehousing and Fulfillment)
  • The average annual price per square foot of warehouse space is $8.22 in 2023, up from $7.96 in 2022. (Warehousing and Fulfillment)
  • 65% of 3PL warehouses offer 6% discounts on regular pick and pack rates if thresholds are met. (Warehousing and Fulfillment)
  • 71% of 3PL warehouses do not include box fees in their order fulfillment fees, charging an additional fee per box if they have to provide boxes for customer orders. Average box prices are $.35-$1.00 per box, while inserts are priced at $.18 on average. (Warehousing and Fulfillment)
  • Average B2B and B2C pick and pack prices per one-item order are $2.97 and $4.31 respectively. (Warehousing and Fulfillment)
  • Out of 600+ surveyed 3PL warehouses, 48% have a monthly minimum requirement with startups charging around $195 per month and larger firms charging $1,285-$2,500. (Warehousing and Fulfillment)

Related: 31+ Logistics Industry Statistics / 35+ Warehousing Statistics / Warehouse Automation Statistics



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