Disruption in supply chain prompts early start to holiday shopping, experts suggest

Experts say it could take into next year before things in the supply chain improve

Monday, September 27, 2021
Too early for Christmas shopping? Think again
Here's why experts say you should start holiday gift shopping now.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Across the country, we're seeing a supply shortage from cars to toys and now tennis shoes. The pandemic continues to disrupt the supply chain, so much so, that experts say now is the time to do your holiday shopping.

After just getting a taste of fall this past week, Christmas might be far from your mind. But experts say maybe it shouldn't be, especially when it comes to Christmas shopping.

"Consumers really need to look at doing their shopping early. When I mean early, I mean now. Don't wait until November. Now's the time to do it while there's still selection," said Margaret Kidd, supply chain and logistics professor at the University of Houston.

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Kidd said it all goes back to the supply chain and a big backlog, which every industry is seeing the impact.

"We continue to see manufacturing close down temporarily across the world, in little pockets here and there, but keep in mind it takes time to ramp that production back up, and then we've seen the closure of several major ports this summer," said Kidd.

Kidd said one concern is coming out of Vietnam, which is a huge manufacturer.

"I would anticipate some delays over the holidays for Nike and Adidas, and I think this could be exacerbated if the current lockdown in Vietnam is extended past this month," said Kidd.

In addition to that, people are still buying stuff and a lot of it, according to David Gantz, a fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute.

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"The U.S. economy, partly because of the influx of funding, has recovered much faster than anyone expected. So people are still buying lots of things," said Gantz.

Gantz and Kidd said it could take into next year before things begin to really improve.

"I think [when] we're easily way into 2022 and maybe even first quarter of 2023. The key is going to be getting the vaccination rates up globally," said Kidd.

So while Christmas may be less than 100 days away, the holiday shopping season has already begun.

"Buy it. Hide it. Wrap it in December," said Kidd.

For more updates on the pandemic disrupting the supply chain, follow Marla Carter on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.