'Buy it when you see it' with holiday season supply chain issues

Look at the shelves in your neighborhood grocery or big box store. Chances are there will be some emply spaces or supplies running low.


Many stores are attempting to prepare for the increase in spending during the holidays, but supply chain logistics are foiling their plans. Key ports such as Long Beach and Los Angeles have a record number of cargo ships waiting to dock and unload because of pandemic restrictions, labor shortages and record prices for Chinese shipping containers. Because of congested ports, Walmart is chartering its own ships, and so is Home Depot, while Lululemon is increasing air shipments.


Toy distributors MGA Entertainment and Basic Fun told Axios that toys will be scarcer and more expensive.


"The [shipping] container that cost $3,200 last year is now $22,000," Larian told Axios, blaming Maersk and other shipping giants.


The supply chain issues stem from COVID-19 outbreaks in key Asian supplier countries, the U.S. truck driver shortage, domestic warehouse worker shortages and wildfires in Bangladesh. Factories are also trying to recover from last year’s holiday shopping season.


Retail sales this holiday season should increase between 7% and 9% in 2021, according to Deloitte's annual holiday retail forecast, while e-commerce sales are projected to increase by 11-15% year over year. This should test the supply chain.


E-commerce continues to grow!


Holiday retail sales should hit $1.28 trillion to $1.3 trillion from November to January, and holiday e-commerce should reach between $210 billion and $218 billion this season, according to Deloitte.


Holiday retail sales last year were stronger than expected, growing by 5.8% between November 2020 and January 2021. E-Commerce sales grew 34.8%, totaling $189 billion during that same timeframe.


It should be an interesting holiday season when it comes to electronics, gadgets, toys and clothes.