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Voice of the consumer: Supply chain issues could make holiday shopping a headache

11 Call For Action lead investigator Katie Pelton.
11 Call For Action lead investigator Katie Pelton.(KKTV)
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 6:25 AM MDT
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Our 11 News Call For Action team pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A lot of us are still thinking about Halloween right now, but the experts tell me you should already be thinking about the holiday season. Now is the time to do your holiday shopping. Supply chain issues are causing backlogs for companies, so you want to get your gift list done as soon as possible this year. I talked with the experts at Consumer Reports about what shoppers need to know. You may have seen this story on 11 News.

“Shopping early is the name of the game this holiday season,” said Anna Kocharian, the shopping and deals editor for Consumer Reports. “A lot of the experts we’ve spoken to have recommended that consumers get started on their holiday shopping as soon as possible. If you wait a long time, maybe into December, you’re probably not going to find the items that you have on your wish list.”

There are several factors that are impacting the supply chain right now. The experts don’t have a timeline for when things could change.

“It’s this domino effect where you have pandemic-related lock downs in Asia that are causing production and factories to shut down,” said Kocharian. “Because of this, we’re experiencing a lot of shortages for the items that are produced overseas. We have port congestion, we have a shortage of labor, truck drivers, warehouse workers, warehouse space in general is limited, and we even have the semi-conductor chip shortages. So all these elements that factor into what helps produce these products are experiencing all these setbacks and that’s causing these delays.”

It’s a trickle-down effect for consumers. Some items are going to cost you a lot more because of the shortages. Experts tell me if you see something on the shelves that you like, you should probably buy it right away, in case it doesn’t get restocked in time for the holidays. Some items may be harder to come by, including certain toys.

“Basically, anything that has a chip in it. Electronics in general are going to be difficult to source this year, and not just difficult to source, but we won’t be seeing such aggressive sales on items, like TVs and laptops,” said Kocharian. “Specifically, when it comes to children’s toys, they’ve become so technologically advanced in recent years where they include chips in it. So because of a chip shortage, those toys are going to be hard to source, and moreover, plastic in general is in short supply as well, so plastic toys and artificial Christmas trees, and even candles are going to be in short supply this year.”

A lot of big retailers are adapting and offering big sales right now. Many stores are also offering price matching, so if you purchase it now and it goes on sale before Christmas, you can get reimbursed for the sale price. I have already started checking off my list. Whatever you do, try not to wait until the last minute this year, if you can.

“For those last-minute shoppers, try shopping a little earlier. When the time comes, if you’re [pressed] for time, try to shop local and that’s a great way to get an item immediately and you don’t have to rely on shipping or reliability if you just go in store,” said Kocharian.

Of course, the holidays are not all about gifts, but I know a lot of you may want to get a head start this holiday season. If you want to find out more information from the experts at Consumer Reports, head to kktv.com and click on “Find It.”

Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.

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