The outset of the pandemic led to spikes in sales of toilet paper, flour, and PPI. Later on in the year, we began buying bikes, dumbbells, sportswear and comfy clothes.
Now that we’re entering our second holiday season in the pandemic, it is being punctuated by delays and shortages.
Construction companies are struggling to get raw materials. Computer chip shortages are causing automakers to cut back production. The shortage of shipping containers is driving up prices.
These factors clash with the gradually increasing expectations among us for fast delivery. These expectations have now been shattered. And the knock-on effects of this means that if we would like to have a Christmas that resembles the calmer Christmases of old, then we ought to be buying our presents… right now.
Is it the same across all industries?
All industries have been affected by the shortages in the supply chain. Yet there are some that are going to be more impacted by the holiday season than others.
Specific products that have been impacted by supply chain issues include computer chips. Pretty much every device in your hands or in front of your face consists of microprocessors that have to be made in specialized factories. And in terms of industries, it is one of the least pivotable in the economy, given that their work takes many months.
This in turn makes gadget shopping this season very underwhelming, and very difficult if you’re set on the latest tech.
Another industry set to struggle big time is the book industry. The pandemic has encouraged many of us to move away from the TV and into a book – whether it be an ebook or physical book.
Yet for those still clinging to the paper form, it may be difficult to get your hands on a new book this season. That’s because paper manufacturers have slowed their operations because of shortages, having a knock-on effect for everything from books and shopping bags to envelopes and Christmas cards.
Thirdly, industries that rely on international manufacturing are particularly pressed to get deliveries on time – this includes plastic toys, dolls, etc.
Tips for seasonal shopping
Start early. Draw up your shopping list and get buying – whether it be online or in store – now. This is not the year to be waiting until the last minute.
Check retailers. Large retailers, like Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot, can maneuver around the congestion at ports by using their own ship fleets, moving from ocean to air, and even buying their own planes. If you’re in search of something specific, ordering from larger retailers will increase your chances of getting it on time.
Be realistic. This is not the year to set ambitious present lists. Many manufacturers are already drawing down their inventory to ensure they maintain stock of certain items. Don’t hold tight on wanting hyper-specific items this season. Be prepared to compromise for Christmas.
Stay local. Because supply chains become more complicated the more international they are, keeping local is a good strategy to ensure you get want you want for the holidays – whether you order it online or head to the store, or a combination of the two.
Read shipping deadlines. Every shipping company from the USPS to FedEx has experienced big staffing shortages. So we’ll need to be patient with our orders even if we purchase them today.