Are your mailbox, inbox and social media feed suddenly stuffed with holiday shopping promotions? Welcome to November! This month, expect plenty of deals — and a complication.
That big, fat variable is the supply-chain bottleneck. While these issues are global in scale, they’ll likely affect your household shopping list. You may find that the items you want are harder to locate and more expensive and take longer to be delivered than usual.
Here’s more about how supply-chain issues may affect your shopping this month, including which products to buy and skip.
First, a note about holiday shopping
For holiday gifts, you’ll likely snag promotions on stuff that didn’t sell last year, says Lauren Beitelspacher, associate professor and chair of the marketing division at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. But, she adds: “The chances of us getting a deal on the hot product for this holiday season is pretty slim.” After all, demand is high, and supply is low. Retailers don’t need to slash prices too much.
About that low supply — we’ll likely see product shortages, says Maria Rodas, assistant professor of business administration at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Rather than panic, she says shoppers should plan ahead. If you really want something in particular before the holidays, buy it early this month.
Buy: Big-ticket electronics
You can’t talk about holiday shopping without mentioning Black Friday, which typically translates to some of the year’s biggest sales on televisions, gaming systems, Apple products and other electronics. While Black Friday is technically Nov. 26 and Cyber Monday is Nov. 29, Best Buy, Amazon and other retailers have already started delivering deals.
But Rodas predicts that “the discounts are not going to be as deep as in previous years.” Again, “because demand is greater than supply.”
This year, Black Friday is best for the flexible shopper. If you’re looking for a specific product and must have it by the holidays, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment by waiting until the end of the month. Retailers may not have what you want or be able to get it to you in time, Rodas says.
But if you’re interested in generally browsing deals on electronics and their arrival isn’t time-sensitive, Rodas says, “waiting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is still a good strategy.”