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Shopping online for the holidays? Expect some empty virtual shelves

America is running out of everything
America is running out of everything 11:48

Americans are seeing a growing number of empty virtual shelves, even as online shopping is forecast to smash records this holiday season, a new analysis shows.

As consumers engage in ecommerce, notices that a particular product is out of stock are up 172% over January 2020 and 300% from the previous year, according to software maker Adobe, which tracks digital purchases. Apparel, sporting goods, baby products and electronics top the list of items in low supply online, the company found.

"As consumer demand and shipping networks get into the holidays, this problem is only going to get worse," the report predicts.

Market research indicates consumers are already worried about struggling to find gifts as ongoing supply-chain crisis hinder holiday shopping and popular toys and other products sell out.  About two-thirds of shoppers also expect to face higher prices going into the holiday season this year, a companion survey from Adobe found.

Still, ecommerce continues to expand, spurred in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans are expected shatter online spending records this year, with Adobe forecasting U.S. holiday sales to top $200 billion for the first time. 

Supply chain backlog at U.S. ports 03:02

"Limited product availability, higher prices and concerns about shipping delays will drive another surge towards ecommerce, as it provides more flexibility in how and when consumers choose to shop," Patrick Brown, vice president of growth marketing and insights for Adobe, said in a statement. 

Product shortages aren't only affecting online sales, with many retailers also reporting low inventories of certain items. The CEO of global home-furnishings giant Ikea told Bloomberg News last week he expects global supply-chain snags to persist well into 2022.

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