Why You May Need To Start Your Holiday Shopping Earlier Than Ever This Year

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Christmas Shipping

A post-pandemic buying boom has caused supply chain issues all over the U.S. as the restrictions on COVID-19 continue to loosen and booster shots are being administered.

The opposite is also true. Since ports that handle the import of consumer goods are understaffed because of the pandemic, there has been a drag in the supply chain.

And while the current situation is frustrating, things could get worse as the Holidays approach. 

Will shipping delays impact Christmas gifts? 

The UPS Chief has urged consumers to buy their Christmas presents early in fear that the shipping crisis will continue. 

Earlier this year, CBS San Francisco reported that they had a record number of ships waiting to be unloaded at their ports.

“We set a historic record. We have never seen anything like this before, it’s unprecedented,” says Port of Oakland spokesperson Marilyn Sandifur. “Whenever you see container ships anchoring out in the bay, know that is unusual.”

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She says that this is the busiest the port has ever been in its 94-year history.

Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, the maker of the hit LOL Surprise Doll line, claims that they have “four hundred and forty-five containers sitting around the water,” their shipments have yet to arrive in Los Angeles.

As the pandemic restrictions continue to loosen while unemployment rates continue in the highs, exports and imports are through the roof as consumers around the world are emptying their wallets.

“We’re not only seeing a big import surge,” Sandifur says. “You know this demand for goods is happening around the world. So we’re exporting quite a bit of goods as well.”

These surges and supply chain drags are likely to continue well into 2022, since consumerism is unlikely to decline with the holiday season approaching.

According to a new CreditCards.com survey, more than 1/4th of holiday shoppers are going to start before the end of this month, while more than half plan to start before Halloween.

"I half-jokingly tell people 'Order your Christmas presents now because otherwise on Christmas day, there may just be a picture of something that's not coming until February or March,'" the international president for shipping giant UPS, Scott Price, said in an interview with AFP.

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He also mentions that low vaccination rates in key developing countries will cause additional shortages in raw materials and components.

"It's a good idea to start early," said senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, Ted Rossman. “And if you see something you want, and you want to get it for one of your friends or family members, it's probably good to jump on it.”

Yesterday, Amazon announced “Black Friday-Worthy Deals” earlier than ever, likely as a result of the supply chain issues in the country.

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Shoppers could expect daily “epic deals,” across the site through October and November — with sales from popular brands like Apple, KitchenAid, Hasbro, Sony, Bose, and Shark.

Target also announced last week that they would be getting a headstart on the holiday shopping sprees.

“As we approach the holiday season, guests are excited to shop early, and our team is ready to help them prepare so they can celebrate what matters most — time with family and friends,” said Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief growth officer at Target.

They’re bringing back their “Target Deal Days” on October 10th through the 12th and introducing an “Industry-Leading Holiday Price Match Guarantee” from Oct. 10th until December 24th.

“New this year, guests can request a price adjustment on all items purchased at Target Oct. 10 through Dec. 24 if the retailer lowers the price later in the season, taking the stress and guesswork out of deal hunting,” they announced on their press release.

As Target and Amazon open their doors early, other retailers are likely to do the same to get ahead of the supply chain problems that will continue into the new year.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.