Supply Shortages Bomb This Year’s Holiday Shopping

As people prepared to avoid the dreaded covid surge over the holidays, they created their wish lists for a “distanced” Christmas. However, with the pandemic still haunting our lives, preparing for this year’s holidays was easier said than done. Computer chips, exercise equipment, breakfast cereal, toilet paper, and more were out of stock well before Christmas. Then toys and holiday items joined the jolly gang.

According to the New York Times, “How the Supply Chain Broke, and Why It Won’t Be Fixed Anytime Soon,” published in October this year, this shortage dates back to last year when factory giants such as China, South Korea, and Germany were hit hard by the pandemic. Factories shut down or reduced production. Anticipating a drop in demand for moving goods, they cut their schedules, but this was a critical mistake: demand was rocket-high, increasing more than ever.

Indeed, the pandemic had a large impact on supply and demand and eventually broke the supply chain, but it turned out to be just one of the many causes of this shortage. When factories realized that demand was, in fact, increasing on some items, they tried to produce more goods. That, ultimately, clogged up the supply chain, moving all the supplies needed to make those items. A computer made in China would need dozens of electronic components from all over the world, like computer chips from Taiwan and specialized chemicals from Europe. The Times article claims that with the ships tied up getting supplies to factories, there were none to deliver the needed goods.

“There’s just difficulties at every stage of the supply chain,” Neil Sanders, senior director for Globaldata Retail, commented on CNN Business. “There are difficulties in manufacturing overseas because factories are closed because of COVID. There are obviously difficulties shipping because there aren’t enough containers and the containers are in the wrong place. There are difficulties getting ships into port and unloaded once they get to the United States.”

For this holiday season, popular toys, sneakers, and electronics like gaming consoles sold out quickly both online and in stores. The Washington Post reported that experts like Mark Kapcyznski, chief marketing officer of Gooten, a supply chain solutions company, said not to wait and buy at the last minute for this holiday season.

There isn’t an exact estimate of when supply shortages will end, but it will likely lead well into 2022 and possibly longer, making it much harder to find key goods. So if you didn’t get that game console you wanted for Christmas, don’t take it out on your parents. This might be a good year for those hand-made gifts that always warm the chilly holiday seasons.