The holiday season is fast approaching, and with the COVID-19 pandemic putting a crunch on supply lines and production, holiday shopping may be more complicated than ever.
Kristin McGrath, a shopping expert at BlackFriday.com — a website that tracks and compiles Black Friday deals for consumers — said that prices may be higher for some products this holiday season and other items may be in short supply.
It may also be necessary to begin holiday shopping earlier to avoid outages of high-demand items.
Here’s a breakdown of what could be different this year:
When should I begin shopping for the holidays?
The timeframe for the best deals is going to be even earlier this year, McGrath said, with some retailers offering their typical Black Friday deals in October. Amazon, for example, has already launched some of its deals earlier than it ever has before.
Many stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, meaning online deals will be the star on Thanksgiving. McGrath also suggests signing up for retailers’ email lists, as some will begin their sales earlier than before.
What brands or products may be impacted?
McGrath said apparel and shoe brands like Adidas, American Apparel, Gap and Nike have already been affected and are trying to find ways to get their products to consumers.
It’s likely that these brands and other apparel companies’ products will be in short supply and will have higher prices, McGrath said.
Executives from companies that produce and distribute popular toy brands like Little Tykes, Bratz, LOL, Fisher Price and K’Nex have also warned about potential toy shortages and raised prices, largely due to delays and increased shipping costs, McGrath said.
Other products expected to be in short supply are holiday decorations, electronics and appliances.
What are some other tips for getting holiday gifts on time?
This year may be the year to get creative when it comes to gift-giving. Homemade items or gifts from online craft marketplaces like Etsy may be a good bet to avoid the potential pricing and supply issues in stores.
In Acadiana, the close-to-home stores are also a good way to avoid the crowds on Black Friday. Local retailers may be experiencing the same supply issues as most major retailers, so shopping early is still recommended.
McGrath said one of the keys is to stay informed. Monitor stores’ and brands’ social media accounts and email newsletters for the best deals. Otherwise, you may risk an item selling out.
When it comes to large retailers, McGrath said to keep an eye on Kohls, Amazon, Best Buy, Macy’s, Target and Walmart, which are known for having good online deals.