Supply Chain Shortages: 10 Things You May Have Trouble Finding In The 2021 Holiday Season
This 2021 holiday season, there's no shortage of warnings about, well, shortages. With several links in the supply chain compromised, consumers are advised by CEOs on down to shop early for Christmas and the winter holidays -- the better, it is said, to avoid being shut out of everything from tech to turkey. But what specifically should you be on the lookout for?
Here's an overview of 10 products and categories that are said to be feeling the effects of the domestic labor shortage, the overseas factory slowdowns and more. These are all items that may prove difficult to get off of your gift lists, and into wrapped boxes for loved ones. (And, yes, sorry, that was another warning.)
This one's less of a red alert, and more of a reminder: Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X are hard to find. Still. And probably for months more to come -- and into 2023. (File under: Supply chain issues, microchip shortage division.)
If you're intent on scoring one of these before 2021's done, then, sure, there's always eBay -- where the PS5 and Xbox consoles are going for about $1,000 each, a 100 percent markup from their respective $500 list prices.
A better option, as we previously recommended, is StockX, the third-party marketplace. As of publication, an authenticated Xbox X Series console could be had for $719, while a similarly authenticated PS5 was selling for $740.
You can also hit the below button to check stock availability for the PS5 on Amazon.
Microsoft Xbox Series X, $719 (StockX)
Sony PlayStation 5 Blu-ray Edition, $740 (StockX)
PlayStation 5 Digital Edition (Check stock now at Amazon)
Will you be able to find toys to buy for Christmas this year? Barring something catastrophic, 1,000% yes. Will you be able to find the toy at the top of your child's gift list? Maybe, maybe not. The story of a hot-ticket toy making itself scarce on shelves is older than Teddy Ruxpin.
2021, of course, does have the additional twist of too many cargo ships stuck in seaports -- and too few available shipping containers, i.e., supply chain issues. According to the CEO of the company behind the L.O.L. Surprise line, some of the toy world's larger-sized items may struggle to reach stores and warehouses.
"The [L.O.L. Surprise O.M.G. house] — that item is over $200, and it's big," Issac Larian told CNBC. "You can only put 150 to 200 in a container. You can't airfreight it."
The good news is, at last look, the L.O.L. Surprise OMG House of Surprises was available via Amazon for $230. Additionally, as of publication, nearly every item featured in our rundown of Amazon's hottest holiday toys for 2021, including the L.O.L. Surprise O.M.G. Movie Magic Studios playset, were in stock via the retail giant.
L.O.L. Surprise O.M.G. House of Surprises, $230 (Amazon)
L.O.L. Surprise O.M.G Movie Magic Studios, $100 (Amazon)
Here the dire forecasts here are short on specifics: Nike, for instance, says its products are taking twice as long to ship to North America, but it doesn't say which sneakers, if any, they're expecting to be scarce. (Pro tip: Last we checked, it wasn't looking good if you were a men's size 12 or above, and in the market for a new, $130 pair of Nike's best-selling Air Max 90 Premium shoes.)
A main concern in this category is that leading brands like Nike, Columbia and Lululemon are dependent on their Vietnamese factories humming along -- but instead, their Vietnamese factories are dealing with pandemic shutdowns.
As with toys, you just have to look around, and click around, to see what's in stock. As of publication, for instance, the sportswear items from our comprehensive Black Friday preview guide, including the women's Columbia Benton Springs zip-front fleece jacket from Kohl's, were all available. (And, hey, even the Air Max 90 Premium was available in some sizes via Nike.)
Women's Columbia Benton Springs zip-front fleece jacket, $40 (Kohl's)
You may need a stiff drink after reading this, but the supply chain situation has not been kind to an industry that relies heavily on imported beverages.
"Clearly, right now there's a shortage of containers," the Distilled Spirits Council's David Ozgo said per CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. "Space on container ships is very, very short."
But don't break the glass on the emergency alarm just yet: Did you go to your local supermarket tonight? Was there beer there? A bottle or two of a nice California red, perhaps? Yes? So, you're fine then -- it's fine. Unless, that is...
Are you planning to gift someone with, say, the exclusive (and imported) Chinese liquor Kweichow Moutai? Then, as you may see at Total Wine & More, supply could be harder to come by. One possible workaround, per another of our gift guides: a gift card -- maybe even to a retailer like Total Wine & More.
Total Wine & More gift cards (buy now)
As reported in September, the great chip shortage of 2021 will force Apple to cut production on its new iPhone 13s through the end of the year by more than 10 percent. Fortunately, 90 million iPhones minus 10 percent is still a lot, so as of publication, a new iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Mini was available via Apple and other retailers. The price on the iPhone 13 with 128GB of minimum storage started at $799; the equivalent iPhone 13 Mini (with a 5.4-inch display screen) was being offered from $699.
iPhone 13, $799 and up (Apple)
iPhone 13 Mini, $699 and up (Apple)
Artificial Christmas trees
Christmas trees have long been susceptible to the whims of the supply chain. In 2018 and 2019, for instance, prices on fresh-cut trees rose due to a reduced number of growers (and a reduced number of trees, natch). In 2020, prices rose again because pandemic-weary consumers were basically buying anything that could be hauled inside their homes.
In the early holiday-going this year, it's fans of artificial trees who are feeling the squeeze. A CNN report said prices on the typically imported product could be up by as much as 25 percent over 2020 -- "if you are lucky enough to still find one by Thanksgiving." For what it's worth, when we checked the Walmart site, we were lucky! We found several top-selling artificial trees in stock, including Best Choice Products' flocked tree with 250 lights. Prices on the Best Choice Products tree started at $160 for the 6-foot variety.
Best Choice Products 6-ft. pre-lit holiday Christmas pine tree with snow-flocked branches, 250 warm white lights, $160 and up (Walmart)
A year after consumers hoovered up Christmas lights (in order to decorate all the trees they bought), the twinkly strings are again expected to be in short supply. (Christmas lights are largely produced and imported from countries in Asia, so, yes, supply chain issues.) On the upside, at last look, most of the top-selling holiday lights on the Walmart site were available. A 59-foot-long string of 300 multi-colored LED mini-lights from Holiday Time, for instance, was available, and going for $17. Check out our list of Christmas decoration deals for more ideas.
Holiday Time Multicolor LED Mini Christmas Lights, 59-feet, 300 Count, $17 (Walmart)
There are rumblings that turkeys may be harder to come by for Thanksgiving dinner. (Per a CBS Chicago report, farmers are struggling to find turkey-wrangling farm workers.) If you're the plan-ahead sort, you can reserve a bird in advance via a subscription meal service: Hello Fresh, for instance, was offering a Turkey & Sides box fit to serve up to 10 people with a roast turkey, ciabatta stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and more for $170 (or, $17 per person).
At last look, an 8-pound, smoked whole turkey could be had -- and delivered to your door -- by Omaha Steaks for $90 if bundled with other dishes. (The bird cost $180 if purchased separately.) Complete Thanksgiving meals were also available from the company.
Hello Fresh Turkey & Sides box, $170 (Hello Fresh)
Omaha Steaks Smoked Whole Turkey, $90 and up (Omaha Steaks)
ANDERSEN ROSS PHOTOGRAPHY INC./GETTY IMAGES
In August, the American Booksellers Association advised booksellers to stock up on titles they expected to be in demand during the holiday shopping season. Maybe everybody got the memo? As of publication, physical copies of all of Amazon's Top 10 best-sellers of 2021, including the new hit novel, "The Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah, were available via the retail giant. (And the best thing about books? Even when hardcovers and paperbacks are sold out, e-book editions are often available.)
"The Four Winds: A Novel" (Hardcover), $12 (Amazon)
"The Four Winds: A Novel" (Kindle Edition), $15 (Amazon)
No, it's just not just sportswear that we're told storm clouds are gathering over. It's every kind of wear. "It's been difficult to plan inventory flow with much precision," Nordstrom CEO Erik Nordstrom told investors, as reported by CBS News. "We do not expect those conditions to change anytime soon."
If you're wearing clothes as you read this, then not to worry: You've already got some!
Problems may ensue, however, if you're looking to acquire threads in a timely manner from the brands that are caught up in the Vietnam factory-shutdown vortex -- like, say, Michael Kors. On Amazon, we found size options were limited on at least a couple of Michael Kors dresses. But we also found the hooded, Michael Kors women's three-quarter-length, chocolate-brown down puffer coat in stock, and available in a range of sizes.
Michael Kors Women's Chocolate Brown 3/4 Down Puffer Coat with Hood, $225 (Amazon)
Related content from CBS Essentials:
- Why supply chain experts say you need to shop now, not later
- The next PS5 restock: Where to buy a PS5 console this holiday season
- Avoid shipping delays with great deals on gift cards this holiday season
- Christmas decorations just got more expensive, but we found some sales
- Here are the hottest toys of the 2021 holiday season, according to Amazon
for more features.