Consumers urged to start holiday shopping early amid supply chain issues, labor shortages

Although it is Halloween that is only a few weeks away, there are some who are already starting their Christmas shopping.
“We’ve definitely been seeing more business. There have been people actually shopping for Christmas already,” says Big Fun Toys employee Toni Colombaroni.
The push to shop earlier is related to several factors. There are supply chain and shipping issues, with cargo ships unable to pull into ports and unload products.
“There’s plenty of products, but they are there and we can’t get them here. And we can’t get them here in time,” says consumer expert Carl Gould, president of 7 Stage Advisors.
Another reason for the delay is the labor shortage.
“We don’t have the people to drive the trucks. Don’t have crane operators, don’t have laborers to fill containers or people at ports to unload them,” Gould says.
And on top of the supply issues, demand for products is also up. Industry analysts expect a 7% rise in holiday shopping sales over last year.
“We’ll be out of stuff and people are like, ‘When is that back?’ I have no idea, I wish I could give an answer,” says Colombaroni.
Retailers are already reporting that popular items are selling out. At Big Fun Toys in Hoboken, the popular items are Barbie dolls and LEGO.
Experts say that consumers should start shopping now. They should be flexible on brands and specifics. And if they see anything on their list now, don’t wait to buy it.
Some larger companies have bought or even rented their own container ships to ensure they get products on time. Those containers have almost quadrupled in price since last January.