Early holiday shopping can yield benefits

By Juan Cavillo

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused shipping issues this holiday season and it may force consumers to buy earlier than normal. That’s smart thinking.
The pandemic created a situation where the United States, and the rest of the world, has lost a lot over the last year-and-a-half.
This holiday, giving children a sense of normalcy and helping economies is an opportunity parents should take up with gusto.
Remarks made by Vice President Kamala Harris in August hinted at issues with supplying goods to the United States for the coming holiday season.
Harris said buying products early would be a good idea. This makes perfect sense.
The supply problem in the U.S. needs to be addressed first.
Christopher Chin, professor of business administration at East Los Angeles College Business Department, said production efforts and demand across the globe have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said places like China had issues with production and supplying goods to various countries. The U.S. depends on China for many of its imported goods.
Chin said when the pandemic first started, demand for some things dried up. Then consumers started buying again, but supply didn’t catch up.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, bigger businesses have made efforts to address future shortages like the ones expected for the holidays.
“The big businesses who have more control over their supply chain have at least attempted to diversify their supply chain from just China and attempt to receive product[s] earlier than normal,” Chin said.
This supply and demand situation will directly affect the holidays.
It becomes more apparent when parents go Christmas shopping and cannot get certain popular gifts. Chin said with supply chains down, certain products will disappear faster than others.
At the beginning of the pandemic, bottled water and toilet paper disappeared despite there being no real reason for it.
This time, the supply of the newest toys or gadgets will be directly affected by the pandemic’s direct effect on supply chains.
Let’s say a parent has been asked by their child for the newest version of ‘Baby Yoda,’ the “Star Wars Snackin’ Gorgu,” and despite looking, the parent can’t find it due to supply issues. Amazon placed this toy on its hot toys of 2021 list.
Not receiving a simple toy for Christmas is hard for a child. In this example simply shopping earlier would have solved the problem.
Maybe a wife is shopping for her adult child, her husband. She can’t seem to find the PlayStation®5 anywhere and is told multiple stores don’t have it.
These examples, while silly, are exactly what could happen if people wait too long to buy gifts for the holidays.
Chin said many shoppers have started to switch to online sales. Every year another report says how much online sales have increased versus brick-and-mortar sales.
Fundera.com said in 2020, 80% of millennials preferred online sales to going in store.
Chin said it wasn’t about getting people in stores as much as before.
“So I don’t see how getting shoppers to buy early will have a substantial difference on their bottom line so long as they have enough product to offer consumers throughout the holiday season…which is a big if,” Chin said.
Despite stores creating sales to get people in the buying mood, it might be really down to whether or not stores can actually send people the things they buy.
While looking at it from the business side, this doesn’t affect them, it does affect consumers who are desperately looking for the next big product.
Chin said these sales are not as rewarding as one might think.
He said many retailers will come up with multiple sales, or have a larger variety of items included in a sale but it won’t translate to deep discounts.
In the end the prices charged are still higher than normal.
Looking at the lacking discounts some sales will bring, why not buy earlier to secure items before they begin to disappear.
Secure the products early before their supply disappears.
People can buy the gifts they need for the holidays early, so kids and loved ones won’t be saddened by missing out on what they wanted.
M. Allen Coson, Associate Professor of Economics, said the US economy is currently stable, and the expectation is that it will be positive for the remainder of 2021. This should give consumers an even greater reason to buy products sooner rather than later.
Spending now ensures that 2021 ends on a positive note.
When it comes to the supply situation Coson encourages consumers to start buying sooner rather than later.
“Americans need to know that the supply side is not yet operational due to the pandemic.
We can expect a lot of delays with respect to transportation and shipping containers. Thus, Americans should start now for their holiday shopping just to ensure that the good(s) is/are delivered on time,” Coson said.
The economy is doing well, but there are still problems that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to the supply of many big businesses.
Parents, friends and loved ones should start preparing now instead of later for the holidays.
Buy those toys for kids even if they aren’t on sale, because the prices are still higher than they should be due to supply issues.
Go out and make a purchase because tomorrow, there might not be enough items to fulfill your Amazon wishlist.
Information from business and economic professors should be enough to convince consumers to go out and buy now, even if it might not be cheaper.
Humans are emotional creatures, so before waiting for the next sale, think about the look on people’s faces when a box has a smelly cologne or gift card to Edible Arrangements, compared to when it has an iPhone. Big difference.

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