Supply Chain

The day after Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Although this may be every shopaholic’s favorite time of year, beware of the snowballing supply chain issues that will leave your pockets jingle jangling all the way through the busiest gift-giving time of the year.

While retailers stock up their shelves before the rush of Black Friday, numerous factories and manufacturing plants cannot secure the products and supplies they need to re-stock their shelves. Electronics and automakers will be the most affected by the supply chain crisis, which will likely result in extremely low inventory. Fallouts from the supply chain dilemma are already noticeable, and Americans are already getting a jump-start on their holiday shopping.

As many as 54% of all U.S. adults reported an item they wanted was out of stock in stores or online. Millennials and Gen Z-ers are currently the most affected with 72% of both generations reporting a hot-ticket holiday gift item out of stock. The Great Resignation has also added to the supply chain conundrum, with 4.3 million people quitting their jobs in August alone leaving fewer employees in critical jobs. With supply chain disruptions worldwide, lack of containers, congested ports, a shortage of truck drivers, and surging energy prices it should come as no surprise to consumers.

Amazon and its Prime shipping feature that allows customers to receive their items within two days of purchase haven’t helped. The demand for eCommerce shops to ship items quicker than ever before has created an increased amount of pressure on shipping and logistics companies worldwide. All of the major carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx are experiencing the same headaches and can’t guarantee specific delivery times, so shopping ahead and adjusting expectations is a MUST.

The National Retail Federation estimates shoppers will spend an average of $997.73 on gifts and holiday items this year. Costs are snowballing with each link of the supply chain adding another layer of costs. Consumer prices have increased 5.4% over the past year and retailers will face an additional $223 billion in inflation costs this holiday season. Most holiday shoppers this season are cutting back on spending money on frivolous gifts and are starting to shop now due to inflated prices.

But these aren’t the only thing falling short this holiday season…

We’re sure you’ve noticed that gas prices have increased 57% since last year. If there was a Grinch, it would be in the form of gas prices this holiday season. Gasoline prices have hit a steep 3.40 a gallon, and diesel prices are not much further behind. While the trucking industry has come under fire for a lack of truck drivers and overwhelming diesel prices, their businesses are exuding supply and demand. Americans should take note because the truck driver shortage isn’t going to get any better. The quit rate of workers in the transportation industry went up 3.7% in August 2021 alone and has steadily increased in the past three months. Trucking is what makes the world go-’round, especially during the winter months, and without enough drivers, you can kiss expedited shipping goodbye. That is – unless you want to pay handsomely for it.

This image was captured on 10/29/21 from AAA:

The heat is on all over the place, and Americans are feeling it. Mostly in their wallets as they bundle up in the upcoming winter months. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates each household’s utility bills will be 30% higher than last year, totaling 13.6 billion more in utility bills this winter for people across the country. All of the increased prices make you want to stay home and avoid going out, especially if the cost to fill up your gas tank is almost $20 more. However, staying in could be just as expensive with the average price of beer jumping 70% due to an aluminum shortage.

Supply chain flurries have already begun, and the forecast concludes that we shouldn’t expect to see an end soon. Be sure to take into account delayed shipping time, lack of manufactured products, and inflated prices this holiday season, or else you may be caught in a financial blizzard. With electricity, heating, and gasoline prices continuing to increase we may all very well find ourselves asking Santa for lower prices on our Christmas lists instead of an air fryer.

Don’t let the most wonderful time of the year turn you into a Scrooge, think smart this holiday season and think ahead.