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Due to pandemic-related supply chain issues, you should expect fewer bargains and depleted inventory when you do your holiday shopping this year. But s
ome retailers think it is going to be worse than that, and
telling their customers
“September is the new December” and that they should start shopping now, as some products may be very hard to find come November and December.
Here’s a look at why the shortages
getting worse, and which shopping categories
The time it takes to ship a crate from Asia—the source of 40% of the volume of all goods imported by sea—has doubled since the pandemic began. The delays are related to all sorts of problems, from labor shortages and COVID-related factory shutdowns to historic weather, as summer storms have led to ports temporarily closing from China to Louisiana.
The United States is also facing a shortage of long haul truck drivers; that industry is still well below pre-pandemic employment levels. As reported by Forbes, there is currently one qualified driver for every 9 job postings. Freight railroads are also dealing with labor and equipment shortages that have created bottlenecks everywhere railroads converge. And shipping by air? Already a prohibitively expensive option, the cost of airfreight from Southeast Asia has increased by 24% over the last year.
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If you have specific gifts or decorations on your holiday shopping lists, start hunting for them now. Compared to the 2020 holiday season, inventory will be a much bigger problem, and retailers are already sounding the alarm that they may struggle to keep enough products on hand to meet demand.