The White House has officially warned Americans about holiday shopping, explaining that there may be many items and toys that consumers might not be able to get. For a few weeks now, analysts have been sounding the warning bells about the holiday season. Global supply chain bottlenecks have been causing massive issues for businesses all year now. This winter, these issues could greatly affect consumers when they shop.
Global supply chain bottlenecks have impacted United States highways, ports, and railways. It has taken much longer for businesses to get items when compared to 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Prices of shipping and freight containers have also skyrocketed, which has forced businesses to raise the prices of their items for consumers.
These global supply chain problems are a result of many things, though all of these problems stem from the COVID-19 pandemic. Regulations and laws worldwide forced many ports to slow down their activity when the pandemic first began. However, because consumer demand was so low, this wasn’t necessarily a problem. When consumer demand surged in 2021 for goods, this problem became great.
COVID-19 also continues to be an issue. The Delta variant recently caused major areas of the global supply chain to slow down yet again because of skyrocketing infections in certain ports or areas. However, it does appear as if virus infections are slowing down again, which would ease the global supply chain bottlenecks slightly.
Businesses have already started to take matters into their own hands as they prepare for the holiday season. Big corporations like Walmart have been able to buy their own shipping carriers to help cut down costs and time. However, not every business has the capability to do this, and even Walmart is still experiencing low stock for a variety of items.
The White House has now warned Americans that everything from meat to toys may continue to be rare. While toys will likely be stocked on the shelves fully come the holiday season, there won’t necessarily be a huge stock of toys in a business’ inventory.
If these global supply chain bottlenecks persist — and it’s likely they will to a great degree, as no accurate plan to solve these issues has yet been put forth — then the United States economy could be impacted. Already, there have been signs that the economy slowed down in the third quarter, likely because of the growing COVID-19 infections from the Delta variant. However, many economists already forecasted that the holiday season would be great for businesses and the economy alike.
These global supply chain issues, however, could negatively impact the expected growth economists have forecasted. If businesses cannot stock up their inventory before the massive holiday shopping season, consumers won’t have access to the types of items they are expecting — and could spend less this season as a result.
The White House has asked American consumers to be patient this holiday season as businesses adjust to these massive issues. Shelves may be empty in the next few months, especially for items in large demand, but there is hope that this will all be straightened out eventually.