Supply chain crisis

The effects of the supply chain on holiday shopping this year


Photo Courtesy of CBNC

Shannon Carr, Staff Writer

The holidays are here, and with that is the season of holiday shopping. Because of the COVID pandemic however, this year’s shopping may look very different. Stores everywhere are experiencing both shortages of stock from shipping delays and a lack of employees.

The list of popular Christmas gifts that are very hard to find is large and becoming larger every day. The new PS5, for example, has been extremely difficult to find both online and in stores since its release about a year ago. According to CBS News, there’s also a shortage of Xbox series X consoles, popular toys for little children, and the new Apple iPhone 13.

Shortages are also causing steep price increases. With the current microchip shortage, TVs, laptops, gaming consoles, and new vehicles are seeing steep price increases. The microchip shortage is a result of manufacturers closing the factory doors in the beginning of the pandemic. Since China and Taiwan got hit hard by COVID, their doors closed for months, providing a limited supply of the materials to create the microchips. Microchips are used mainly for cell phones, cars, and gaming consoles, and the shortage is affecting businesses that sell these items, such as GameStop who is dealing with a low stock and struggling to purchase more, according to CBC News. 

Not only are gifts low on stock, but customers may also have trouble finding food to eat at their Christmas feasts. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the stock of frozen turkeys has decreased by 24% compared to last year. Federal officials say that the reason is an increase in feed costs which has impacted turkey production. Online sites, such as Crowd Cow, offer customers frozen turkeys, but have a long wait list. 

The supply chain crisis is also causing increasing prices for food and drink items not only in stores, but in restaurants as well. Smaller independent restaurants are struggling to stay open with shortages worldwide and an increase in ingredients according to the publication, Supply Chain Scene. For example, Chipotle has increased their prices as much as 9-10%. Supply Chain Scene also says that meat prices are soaring due to a shortage of workers to butcher the meat.

Due to the supply chain crisis, analysts suggest going to in-person stores. 

“Shoppers will be able to leave with goods in hand, [without] having to wait for delivery delays,” says Rod Sides, vice chairman at Deloitte, a multinational professional services company originating from the United Kingdom. 

Another benefit of in-person shopping is that if customers don’t find exactly what they want, they can select an alternative and try it out. 

Many other factors in the supply chain crisis may affect holiday celebrations, including an increase in gas prices. The cost of gas for consumers is soaring due to a limited supply of crude oil, causing prices to rise as high as $85 per barrel. The White House is taking action to this by funding U.S. oil rigs. Luckily, this issue is expected to die down, as the government predicts that gas prices will fall below $3 per gallon, according to CNN. The gas price rise was an issue during the Thanksgiving break, as many found that filling their car up would cost them as much as $60-70, according to ABC 7 Action News. 

Regardless if you are a shopper or the person being shopped for, the shortage of materials and gifts worldwide has made the holidays more difficult for us as we approach a second year of the COVID pandemic.