How to shop with confidence during a supply chain shortage

Home for the Holidays

Have you found an item in stock now that you know you’ll want to buy for the upcoming holidays? Your best bet is to grab it now in case it goes out of stock later due to clogs in the supply chain.

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Could a supply chain shortage affect your holiday shopping?

The good news is that the holiday season is just around the corner. The bad news is that pandemic-related supply chain shortages are not likely to improve in the near future. In fact, many experts are forecasting that popular seasonal and holiday items like decorations, toys and tech may be in short supply this year. 

Don’t let the possible shortages of items on your list put a damper on your celebrations. With a few simple steps, you’ll be prepared to conquer the challenges of shopping in 2021. 

What is causing the supply chain shortage? 

While the COVID-19 pandemic is the major cause of the issues with the supply chain, the continuation of product shortages stems from a combination of factors — almost like a domino effect. Supply chain shortages began in 2020 when worldwide lockdowns due to the pandemic spurred panic buying. By spring 2021, consumer optimism led to greater demand, resulting in higher prices as well as shortages of items like materials for building and semiconductor chips used in numerous types of computerized devices. However, by midsummer, the Delta variant of the coronavirus slowed the economic recovery.

As the world continues to deal with virus outbreaks, labor shortages have slowed the production of many goods. What’s more, with fewer employees to move products, everything from toys to clothing are awaiting shipment from international manufacturing hubs or stuck in shipping containers unable to get to their destination. Although government officials and CEOs of major retailers are looking for solutions to disruptions in the global supply chain, there are no guarantees that product shortages will be eased in time for the holidays. 

Popular products that might be affected by the supply chain shortage

During past holiday seasons, the hottest toys of the year were difficult to find. In 2021, the list of products that are likely to fly off the shelves and not return in time for the shopping season is a long one. 

While almost any item is subject to supply chain issues, some popular products are already on the shortage list:

  • Tech devices and electronics that use semiconductor chips, such as tablets and smartphones
  • A wide range of toys for all ages
  • Major and small kitchen appliances 
  • Clothing items
  • Holiday decorations, including lights and Christmas trees
  • Cleaning essentials like vacuum cleaners

Tips for shopping during the supply chain shortage

There are no guarantees that you’ll find what you are looking for this holiday season, but following the following tips will increase your chances: 

  • Don’t wait to begin shopping. With the challenges posed by global supply chain interruptions, now is the time to buy the items you want when you find them in stock. While you may be tempted to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, you could miss out. 
  • Be mindful of shipping delays. To add to this year’s frustrations, domestic shipping delays caused by labor shortages are possible. This is another good reason to shop early. 
  • Maintain a bit of flexibility with your shopping list. In addition to your primary shopping list, put together a list of backups in case you can’t find some of your preferred items. 
  • Keep your budget in mind. Prices are up on many products this year, causing further holiday shopping concerns. Your backup list of products could also come in handy if you need an alternative to a higher-priced item. 
  • Consider gift cards if necessary. The supply chain shortage won’t last forever, so a gift card is a good option for that person on your list who has their heart set on a specific item that is currently unavailable. 

Products to buy now to avoid the worst of the supply chain shortage

There is a good chance these popular name-brand products might be affected by this year’s supply chain shortages, so it’s a good idea to shop now. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone on your gift list, act quickly while these must-have items are still available. To receive alerts on deals and new products all year long, sign up for the BestReviews email newsletter

All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet

All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet

The newly-released Fire HD 10 tablet boasts 3GB RAM and the speedy Octa-Core processor that work together to deliver responsive performance. The generous screen is perfect for gaming and watching movies, sports and more.

Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

National Tree Company Dunhill Fir Tree

National Tree Company Dunhill Fir Tree

With an authentic appearance that resembles a real tree, this Dunhill Fir by National Tree Company will add a festive touch to any holiday decor. It’s adorned with pre-lit LED lights to make decorating a breeze. 

Sold by Kohl’sAmazonMacy’s and Bed Bath and Beyond

LEGO Classic Large Creative Brick Box Set

LEGO Classic Large Creative Brick Box Set

LEGO’s large brick box set comes with 790 pieces for endless possibilities. The included brick-shaped tub serves as a storage bin for the pieces. 

Sold by Kohl’s and Amazon

Amazon Fire TV Omni Series

Amazon Fire TV Omni Series

This TV is a new release by Amazon and offers everything you need in-home entertainment — excellent 4K image quality, notable sound, built-in streaming and Alexa voice control. 

Sold by Amazon

Ninja Foodie 5-in-1 Indoor Grill

Ninja Foodie 5-in-1 Indoor Grill

Ninja’s indoor grill is so versatile, it’s like five appliances in one. In addition to grilling, it bakes, roasts, dehydrates and air fries food to perfection. 

Sold by AmazonHome DepotBed Bath and BeyondMacy’s and Kohl’s

Nike Men’s Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Running Shoes

Nike Men’s Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Running Shoes

Comfortable, responsive and stylish — Nike’s Air Zoom Pegasus 38 shoes are made for running but are also suitable for other activities, plus they look great too. They are available in a choice of several fashionable color combinations. 

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Macy’s

bObsweep Pethair Plus Robotic Vacuum and Mop

bObsweep Pethair Plus Robotic Vacuum and Mop

This robotic vacuum is perfect for pet owners, thanks to powerful suction, intuitive mapping technology and hair-grabbing brushes. It also works as a mop for whole-house cleaning. 

Sold by Bed Bath and BeyondHome DepotKohl’sAmazon and Macy’s

Amazon Gift Card

Amazon Gift Card

When you can’t find the perfect present, a gift card is a good option. An Amazon gift card is available in just about any amount you choose and never expires. An attractive gift box is included. 

Sold by Amazon

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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