NEW YORK, November 12, 2021 (Newswire.com) - The beginning of November may seem like it's too early to start thinking about holiday shopping, but savvy consumers have already begun. 2021 is a year when you do not want to wait. There are supply chain issues, discontinued product lines, and a smaller number of brick-and-mortar retail stores where you can physically handle items before buying them.
It's also a good time to plan your holiday budget. Last year, over 30% of Americans took on new debt of $1,300 or more while shopping for the holidays. That's in a population where individual average debt payments are already consuming one third of our monthly income. Try to pay cash when you can and get started early. Here are some reasons why:
1. The Supply Chain Issue
Container ships are delayed, there's a semiconductor shortage, and new electronics are almost impossible to find on the shelves. Even ordering them online might not get them to you before Christmas. Brands like Nike aren't being manufactured because factories in Vietnam and Indonesia are closed due to Covid-19. It's a different world this year. Be prepared.
2. Fewer Brick and Mortar Locations
During the pandemic of 2020, more than 8,300 United States retail stores closed. The previous year, we lost 9,300. In 2021, J Crew, Neiman Marcus, and JCPenney filed for bankruptcy. In other words, your brick-and-mortar shopping options are more limited now. Waiting until the last minute to go to your favorite store might not be the experience you're hoping for.
3. Shipping Delays for Online Shoppers
Online shopping won't be much better than going to the mall. Depending on the item you order, shipping delays could be several weeks. Buying your gifts from US manufacturers might give you a better shot at getting them on time, but anything made outside the US will have to get into our ports, which are heavily backed up right now.
4. Limited Staff and Long Lines
This doesn't just affect physical retail locations. Fulfillment and distribution centers for online platforms are understaffed also. Expect long lines in the stores and long waits for online orders. Be patient because they're all doing the best they can to get back to normal, just like we are. If you want to help, apply for a part-time job somewhere for the holiday season.
The Bottom Line: Don't Wait to Start Shopping
According to a survey published by CNBC, 27% of consumers start their holiday shopping in August. The best deals are found later, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but waiting for those sales could be costly this year. If you're one of the lucky ones who's already done, that won't affect you. If you haven't started yet, don't wait any longer.
Another shopping practice that you might want to eliminate this year is waiting until after the holidays to shop. If you delay ordering until January, you might not see your merchandise until March or April. Things might improve by then, but you don't want to take that chance.