Experts Advise Americans to Start Holiday Shopping Early

October 21, 2021

For months, supply chain problems have led to increased prices and long delays that show no sign of ending anytime soon. As a result, industry analysts are recommending that consumers start their holiday shopping as soon as possible if they want their items to arrive by December. While supplies remain low because of factors like jammed ports and truck shortages, demand is expected to ramp up this holiday season as experts predict a 7 to 9 percent increase in retail sales. So if there are any trendy items on your wishlist this year, make sure to order now to get ahead of likely shipping delays.

“All of the major carriers — USPS, UPS, FedEx — are not guaranteeing any specific delivery times this year, so absolutely shop ahead as much as possible,” said Mark Kapczynski, an executive at a supply chain solutions company. Consumers are expected to spend an average of $785 during the holiday season, which is much higher than the last two years. The market research company NDP Group says that this reflects how Americans have “settled into the current phase of pandemic life,” as they seek to balance “a new sense of comfort alongside remaining concerns.” But while consumers are certainly ready to buy, that doesn’t guarantee the products they want will still be on sale. 

Shortages of semiconductors and microchips have already led to low supplies of popular video game consoles and automobiles. Meanwhile, in-demand toys like Legos as well as trendy sneakers and other fashion accessories could fly off shelves quickly with little chance of being restocked later. “Selection and variety will be impacted with blank spots already showing up on retailer shelves,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Toy Association . “Waiting too long or for traditional promotional sales could result in an inability to get the gift a child or family member has their heart set upon.” In an effort to prevent inventory shortages, big companies like Walmart, Target, and Costco have started chartering their own cargo ships, an advantage not shared by smaller competitors. 


  1. Why are experts advising consumers to do their holiday shopping early this year?
  2. Do you think online shopping will be a reliable way to purchase goods this holiday season? Why or why not?

Source: Taylor Telford, “The Supply Chain Meltdown Will Make Holiday Shopping Messy This Year. Here’s What You Need to Know,” The Washington Post, October 21, 2021.