FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WLUK) -- It’s not even October yet, but you probably should already be thinking about Christmas.
The National Retail Federation is saying to get your holiday shopping done early this year.
October this year could become the new November. The latter has been known as the most popular month to start holiday shopping, but the NRF says to get in the Christmas spirit, and get there sooner rather than later.
“Definitely if you’re planning on, you know, Christmas items and stuff, or holiday items, I would be looking now,” said president of Appleton’s Sound World David Vatland.
Shoppers are being encouraged to fill up those shopping bags earlier to avoid shipping delays, as a result of the pandemic.
“There’s a lot that goes into a product and getting a product to you, so there’s probably delays along the line,” Ryan Skiver, associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh said. “We don’t know what their inventory was, what their manufacturing process is, what their employment is, so there could be a number of things leading to that delay that you see on your computer screen.”
In a statement, FedEx told FOX 11:
We continue to experience a peak-like surge in package volume due to the explosive growth of e-commerce brought on by the onset of COVID-19, resulting in more packages entering our network than ever before.
In another statement, competitor UPS told FOX 11:
We agree with the advice of shopping early and expect to see continued supply chain pinches this year.
UPS also says for the 2021 holiday season, it will to process 130,000 more pieces per hour than last year.
But shipping delays aren’t the only contributing factors, so are product shortages. And the more complex the product, the earlier you should get it.
“It’s not just one company building a product anymore,” Vatland said. “They don’t start with the raw materials and end with the product, what they end up doing is find suppliers and other companies for their components for those products, and when you do that, it becomes more and more complex, because if one of those areas shuts down, then you have an entire disruption in your supply chain.”
It doesn’t stop with product shortages. The labor shortage we’re seeing is also a factor, because there aren’t enough workers to unload products from shipping containers.
“They can’t unload the containers fast enough, and the trucks don’t pick up the merchandise fast enough, so it’s a vicious circle,” Vatland said. “I don’t see it corrected real soon; I think it’s gonna take a long time.”
Products that may fly off the shelves faster than others include TVs.
“Going into Christmas, we could have some shortages there, too,” said Vatland. “There are products that we sell that are almost non-existent, I mean, that we haven’t had in, since June.”
But really, anything that requires a computer chip, and not just in cars, might be hard to come across.
“We could also see those trickle down to toothbrushes, or LED lightbulbs, because they all contain those same type of chips,” Skiver said.
As to how long these shipping delays will last, the answer is simple – experts say, they don’t know.
“We don’t know where those are going to be and how soon we can get back up and running,” Skiver said. “I am more than confident that we will be up and running but, as to when that is, I can’t tell you.”