Holiday shopping 2021: Experts are advising to get your gifts early this year

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Supply chain disruptions still fueled by the pandemic are driving up prices

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Supply chain disruptions still fueled by the pandemic are driving up prices and leading to a growing shortage of goods.

Retail experts are advising to plan ahead and get that gift early if you can.

“I think prices are going up. The shelves are more empty,” said shopper Ali First.

Crews across the country are working to get a handle on the supply chain issues with the holidays fast approaching.

Major retailers are pushing people to shop earlier than ever this year so shoppers can grab some deals — if they can find them — and avoid disappointments.

Amazon has begun rolling out “Black Friday-worthy deals” in early October to jumpstart the holiday season.

Walmart is bringing back last year’s Black Friday promotion from last year when it offered sales during every week in November.

The “Black Friday Deals for Days” promotion offers what the retailer calls “incredible prices” on mostly everything. The first event begins November 3 and continues the following week. Events later in the month will soon be announced.

The pandemic-driven disruptions have also led to labor shortages and inventory depletion at liquor stores. There has also been gridlock at ports in California, where ships have been waiting to dock to unload those must-have gifts and goods.

SEE ALSO: Supply chain issues lead to alcohol shortage: ‘They don’t know what’s coming’

“Boats can’t get into the ports because there is such a backlog. Truck drivers are also in short supply,” said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.

Some are heeding the advice and are choosing to stock up early.

“I live by myself, this is more than what I need for a week,” said shopper Zhuo Wang on Sunday night.

“I saw on the news saying, ‘Hey if you want to do Thanksgiving shopping, you better start now,'” Wang said.

Some retail experts say that sound advice.

“While you’re out grabbing your Hershey bars at your local Acme, you might be willing to snag a couple of gifts while you’re out there as well,” said Jenna Pogorzelski with Deloitte and Touche.

SEE ALSO: How ports are breaking supply chain gridlock that’s causing shortages, high food prices

In Philadelphia, some retail research suggests shoppers have more money this year and are looking to spend it after missing out during the pandemic.

“People are ready to shop. They are ready to do that rebound shopping. They are ready to get together with friends and family,” said Pogorzelski.

What can shoppers do as we head into the holidays? ABC News’ consumer correspondent Becky Worley said to “start with how you find it.”

“Many big chains like Best Buy, Target, they may be sold out of an item online, but remember that’s the stock they have in their online warehouse,” she said. “Every store is a mini-warehouse, so the item you want could be sitting on a shelf.”

Worley suggested using website tools like “pickup in store” and change the location to see if it’s available anywhere around you. “But one big caveat before you drive a long distance, call to make sure the item is actually there — trust but verify.”

— ABC News and CNN contributed to this report.

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