With the holidays approaching, people will be wading through many issues that beset holiday shoppers every year, with some additional potential issues this year.
The supply chain concerns may make holiday shopping this year the most challenging to date. The pandemic’s effects on the 2020 retail holiday season caused the e-commerce market to experience unprecedented growth.
Read further and discover tips on how to help cope with potential supply chain challenges.
What Happens During the Holiday Rush
Pandemic or not, holiday shopping can be both fun and frustrating. Some consumers have opted to shop in-store and possibly wait for hours in line to shop inside.
The advent of e-commerce may seem to have alleviated the situation, albeit temporarily. Now with the recent supply chain concerns, you may want to consider making online purchases early. Otherwise, you might have to wait until items get restocked and for them to get shipped to your doorstep.
Some of the challenges people face during a typical holiday rush include:
- Heavy traffic on major thoroughfares to and from shopping centers and retail stores;
- Stocks running out too fast due to demands and holiday deals;
- Higher shipping costs, especially if you want to expedite the shipment; and
- Delays in receiving purchased items.
Supply Chain Issues that Could Affect your Holiday Shopping
The holiday rush may end up frustrating you more this year due to the current supply chain issues. Around 64% of retail executives are worrying about their stocks for the holidays arriving late.
Apart from supply chain problems, there are also labor shortages, considerable shipping delays, and higher shipping costs, to name a few. All of these have a compounding effect on increasing the gap between supply and demand.
As a result, online and brick-and-mortar retail stores may have minimal stock, which could lead to fewer discounts and even higher price points.
Here are three major supply chain issues aggravating the situation:
Semiconductor Chip Shortage
Experts predict the global chip shortage will not go away anytime soon – and could even linger until the second quarter of 2022. The U.S. trade sanctions imposed on China combined with the shutdown of numerous semiconductor factories contributed to this scarcity. For this reason, most car manufacturers and other tech gadgets cannot meet their production quotas.
Supply Crunch from Petrochemicals
Chip manufacturers are not the only ones affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Even petrochemical plants manufacturing plastics took a considerable blow. Their production had slashed down significantly because of the short but brutal recession. Additionally, the hub of petrochemical production in Louisiana also went through yet another blow from hurricanes Laura and Zeta in 2020.
Plastics play a vital role in most industries with products ranging from cereal bags to bicycle helmets and even casings for most toys and gadgets. A lower supply of plastic raw materials could mean significantly fewer products available to buy this holiday season.
Cargo Ships Not Docking
During this year’s holiday season, it’s not only the shoppers who have to wait in line. Dozens of cargo ships currently anchored off the West Coast ports are also waiting in line, and it may take up to four weeks before they can dock and unload. Workforce shortages, consumer demands, and restrictions due to the pandemic all contribute to this issue.
As if this stalemate on the ports is not enough, shipping containers and truck drivers are also in short supply. Even though some manufacturers can meet production quotas for this holiday season, bottlenecks on docks and ports create additional pressure on the supply chain.
How Shoppers Cope with these Issues
Holiday shoppers are on the receiving end of these shortages. However, according to a recent survey, about 80% of holiday shoppers plan to start stuffing stockings with gifts earlier than Thanksgiving this year.
Buying products affected by the issue early on can help you avoid holiday rush price hikes and shipping delays. The following are items you should consider buying sooner than later:
- Toys: Due to port blockages, most toys coming from China remain stuck at sea. You can start buying toys for the little ones now – without waiting for Black Friday. Besides, deals on Thanksgiving weekend may not be as substantial compared to last year.
- Gaming consoles: The production of gaming consoles are taking a massive blow because of the chip shortage and scarcity of plastics. If these consoles are not available online, drive to your local stores and check if they still have them in stock.
- Apparel and footwear: Major brands have warned of major shortages during the holidays. While the industry continues to find ways to meet consumer demands, it’s best to start shopping for these items early before supplies run out.
Fortunately, various retail giants plan to cater to early holiday shoppers this year, some offering Black Friday-worthy deals earlier than usual.
With these big moves from leading retailers, it’s only natural for other retailers to follow suit.
Shop Early and Reduce the Stress that Comes with Holiday Shopping
Beat the holiday rush and the shopping problems arising from the supply chain issues this 2021. Shop early to get the products you want and get them delivered to you before the big day in December.
For an extra nudge, get additional funding for your early holiday shopping. Apply for a personal loan today.