Get your holiday shopping done early, many toys and holiday decor stuck at sea

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Wednesday is the first day of fall but, you may want to start thinking about Christmas.

Checking things off your child’s wish list may be extra challenging this year. There are few reasons why things are a bit more out of whack. Of course, the pandemic is to blame.

The pandemic has left global supply chains a mess.  According to NBC News, in Southern California earlier this week, there were more than 72 container ships waiting to unload at the Port of Long Beach.  Some of them are having to wait a week or longer before they are allowed to dock and unload. Carriers are reportedly canceling upcoming sailing to allow the backlog to clear.

Of the 3 billion toys sold in the US, about 90{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb} of them come from China, so you can imagine how dependent our industry is to get their products over here.  Getting toys on the shelves means getting them through ports.

The pandemic has also disrupted workflow from factories to local stores.

“Parents invested very much in toys and play,” Steve Starobinsky from [email protected] said. “The toy industry saw an 18{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb} rise in 2020 and a 27{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb} rise year to date in 2021.  COVID creating an extreme demand for all things play. Simultaneously COVID created restrictions in the amount of people and created fear from the shipping companies that made them sell off a lot of their ships and containers early in the process and created this extreme bottleneck at all the biggest ports around the globe.”

Starobinsky has been in the toy industry for 20 years and is the founder of his namesake agency that tracks trends in all things Play.  Starobinsky says toy demand greatly increased during the pandemic, many parents were looking at ways to keep their children entertained.

”I’ll give you both sides of the coin,” Starobinsky said. “I very much do believe that shopping now, if you have any January or February birthdays I would consider getting those gifts early because I do anticipate the supply chain shortage to go all the way through Chinese new year.  But, at the same time, the toy industry doesn’t have that one must-have item. There are numerous cool and trendy brands that your kids are into right now. There is some diversification of interests there are some new fun toys coming to market.”

If you think your child would like something for the holidays, considering getting it now.

Another issue that is popping up as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts the US supply chain delaying orders and driving up shipping costs. 

If you need some holiday decor: start shopping as soon as possible. According to the American Christmas Tree Association, consumers could experience a shortage of artificial trees and other décor this holiday season.

Some sellers are already increasing their prices for artificial trees and other holiday products by at least 20{3132c872e6c78dc13c400a594a399f7f701f7fca090fe22c84668d12b33a9deb}. Experts say if you’re looking to buy a fake tree this year, it’s best to do it now while they’re still in stock.

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