When the pandemic started it was toilet paper, followed by bread flour, bikes, and PPE… Now, hundreds of items are out of stock and over-priced. Shipping containers that deliver your goods are in short supply, as are the computer chips that make up almost every device you own, and to top it all off, inflation is kicking into overdrive. Shopping isn’t currently what it used to be, and with the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start preparing for delays and upcharges.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost and Santa didn’t forget about you this year. We have the advice you need to get your gifts in order and your holiday shopping done on time. Here’s everything you need to know to navigate this year’s pandemic-affected shopping season.
The industries most affected by the pandemic
Most industries have felt the pinch of the pandemic up and down the supply chain. Unfortunately for holiday shopping, a few important ones have been affected a lot. They include:
1. Computer chips
Computer chips have been in short supply since the pandemic started. That’s bad news for the world since nearly every device you own is made up of microprocessors that require specialized factories to build. Computer chips can take months or years to build.
Unfortunately, this means that some of the gadgets you had your eye on this year, like the new Apple Watch, might not be available in time for the holidays because of production delays. This is true despite the best efforts of manufacturers.
Bottom line: Don’t wait for Black Friday discounts because you might not get the products until spring.
Due to the rise of the Delta variant, paper manufacturers have scaled down their operations which has led to a nationwide paper shortage. This has impacted everything from paperback books to paper shopping bags.
Pro tip: If you regularly send Christmas, Hannukah, or other holiday cards out, start thinking about buying them now.
3. Plastic toys
Products that are manufactured overseas are steadily piling up in clogged ports because of the shipping container shortage. These items include plastic toys for kids.
More likely than not, you won’t be able to save Christmas if you wait till the last minute to order those toys for the little ones in your life.
Best holiday shopping tips to get your gifts on time
Never fear, your helpful holiday shopping elf is here! Though we are dealing with supply chain disruptions and item shortages, there’s still a chance you can have a holiday to remember if you follow these five shopping tips:
- Early birds get the worms
Our first tip is to start early…like now. Draw up your list and start placing your orders. This will ensure you have the best chance of getting your gifts on time.
- Set realistic goals
As retail stock dwindles, so will your options. Resist getting fixated on a style or color. Be flexible and focus on the product.
- Shop at large retailers
Larger retailers like Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon can secure their supply chains better, making them more likely to have and deliver what you want on time.
- Check shipping deadlines
Delivery companies are also facing a shortage of staff this year that could cause longer-than-usual waits for deliveries. Always check the shipping deadlines and be a bit more patient than usual.
- Pick it up yourself
There’s nothing like doing something to get it done right. Walk or drive to your local bookstore or big department store to pick up your gifts early so that your loved ones don’t miss out.
Spread the cheer this Christmas
It stinks that we’re still facing shipping delays and supply shortages but it all comes with a pandemic. There’s still good reason to celebrate the holidays this year and put a smile on your family’s (and your own!) faces with gifts they’ll love.
What are you getting your loved ones for the holidays this year? Comment your thoughts below and don’t forget to share this article with those who would appreciate the information!