We are inundated with alarmist messages from retailers all the time: Order now while supplies last! Final sale! Only two hours left to receive 50% off!
As we know, there is always another sale or great offer. However, one of the many ways Covid is causing disruptions is by complicating the supply chain. Products in those larger than life containers you see on cargo ships and crawling by on freight trains (while you pull your hair out in your car waiting at the crossing) are backed up. They’re clogging up ports–which are typically located overseas–and shipping companies have to hustle to distribute them.
What we have here is a supply and demand problem, which naturally becomes a problem for consumers, who have to pay more for shipping and the product itself. Oh, more good news: it’s only supposed to get worse, especially for the holiday season, according to this Debbie Downer from CNN Business.
But…we’re not going to just be the bearer of bad news and leave you to your own devices. Below, we discuss why you should place your 2021 holiday orders early.
1. Really, Supplies Won’t Last That Long
We joked earlier about this message, but it’s very true this time around. There is quite a shortage of consumer products right now and for the foreseeable future. For example, Hasbro, the toy company that makes, well, everything, warns that shoppers will encounter bare shelves come holiday time.
Not to be outdone by the doom and gloom of the aforementioned article, another CNN Business story cautions, “Tacos, cars, jet fuel. computer chips, Nike shoes and school supplies: What do they all have in common? They’re all (nearly) impossible to find — or getting there.”
No tacos? Ouch.
The point is to do your shopping early and often, and if your biggest worry is not having enough jet fuel for your private plane, then you’re doing alright.
2. More Expensive Products
Not only will gift selections be smaller, they will also hit your wallet harder. Speaking of Hasbro, they announced price increases to offset freight and commodities costs. If that doesn’t concern you, maybe this will: coffee is getting more expensive.
The reality is that most consumer goods are going up in price–prices for U.S. consumers jumped in June by the most since 2008–so make your holiday shopping lists now, and save time and money while you can.
3. Less Shipping Sticker Shock
The cost of shipping is soaring. Shortages of goods = higher shipping prices. The U.S. imports a lot from China, whose ports are tangled up, causing shipping companies to scramble and use more resources. We know that you read up on Drewry Shipping’s World Container Index for fun, but in case you missed the latest report, here’s some juicy data: “The composite cost of shipping a 40-foot container on eight major East-West routes hit $9,613 in the week to August 19, up 360% from a year ago.”
In other words, that increase impacts us, the consumers. To boot, you can expect longer delivery times. Shopping now or soon will mean paying less for shipping than waiting deep into the season and ensuring that your gifts arrive in time.
What We’re Doing
Okay, we’ve scared you a bit, but we want you to know how we’re responding to pass savings on to you:
- Procuring baskets and containers now so that they are on hand for the fourth quarter
- Sourcing products from smaller and more local vendors to try to reduce shipping times
- Taking orders and pre-orders now for the holidays
- Creating designs that allow for easy substitution of products so that we can manage vendor shortages.
You see, it shouldn’t only be up to shoppers to do all the planning. As consumers ourselves, we want you to enjoy the holidays without regret or buyer’s remorse.