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November 24, 2021 Personal Finance

Guide to 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

The holidays are around the corner, and it’s time to hit the stores! Retailers are anticipating a shopping season that’s a lot closer to pre-pandemic days than last year’s festivities.

Unfortunately, suppliers are cautioning consumers to expect supply shortages, shipping delays, and higher price tags than anticipated.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what you might expect to see and how you can make the most of the deals available, and where to find them.

Supply Shortages

You may have already noticed the reduced stock on the shelves, from household goods to the season’s hottest toys. Suppliers are struggling to stay ahead of shoppers’ demands while recovering from the manufacturing lag they encountered during the lockdown. Suppliers are also dealing with a labor shortage, making it challenging to meet their manufacturing quotas.

Many manufacturers rely on other suppliers for the materials they need to fulfill their product demands. Worldwide supply chain bottlenecks are slowing down their production processes even further.

Shipping Delays

Even when manufacturers manage to keep the supply of their products ahead of the demand, there can be significant delays when the products arrive in the U.S.

The jam is a direct result of the limited availability of storage containers. Uneven deliveries cause an uneven product distribution as suppliers race to catch up with demand.

Order things early to ensure items are delivered by the holidays if you’re shopping online. USPS recommends shipping packages before December 15 to ensure standard delivery by Christmas. If you’re shopping in stores, have a few gifts in mind if the original choice is out of stock.

Understaffed Shops

Don’t expect the royal treatment when you hit the shops this holiday season. Salespeople are likely to be even more overworked and stressed than they usually are during this time of year.

Retailers face massive staff shortages and have been forced to place extra responsibilities on their workers. Oklahoma has the 12th-largest labor shortage in the nation and 1.08 jobs for every unemployed person.

The salespeople you encounter may be doing the jobs of several workers. Their stress or attitude is likely not a reflection of your request. Do your best to be courteous and kind while shopping.

Fewer Deals and Higher Prices

Don’t count on finding massive deals this season while checking off your loved ones on your gift list. The prices you’ll find on toys, clothing, electronics, and other items will likely be higher than usual thanks to factors like inflation, the rising cost of fuel, and a supply that falls well below demand.

Retailers have less incentive to offer promotions and steep discounts on any gift items because shoppers are eager to get their hands on the few available goods.

Shop Early

As a consumer, there’s not much you can do to fix the supply shortages and delays in shipping. You can shop early to avoid facing bare shelves and a delivery date that’s weeks past the holidays.

Suppliers and retailers are urging consumers to get started on their holiday shopping as soon as possible to get the best selection at the best prices.

If you’re the kind of shopper who doesn’t think about gift shopping until two weeks before the holidays, this may be the year to rethink your approach.

Make Your Plan

Don’t let a scarcity in supply, delivery backups, staff shortages, and high prices take the fun out of holiday shopping this year. Make sure to plan and start early! You can enjoy this season’s gift shopping and still stick to your budget.

This article is for educational purposes only. Tulsa FCU makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.