As the coronavirus surges on, infecting more people than ever in the U.S., you may want to start Christmas shopping early. Aside from supply-chain shortages and shipping delays, even plans to shop in-person could change.
Stores may shut down again, leaving you vulnerable to shipping delays. You may even simply be unable to find the items you want to purchase.
Shopping now will also get you better deals than you’ll find during the Christmas season.
When the first shutdown occurred in March, which included a majority of retail stores, shoppers turned to online purchasing. The surge in online orders and panic buying led to shortages and overwhelmed fulfillment and shipping functions.
Nintendo Switch consoles have been sold out for months, with no guarantees on when they’ll be back in stock – anywhere. Couriers including the United States Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS are also experiencing massive delays.
The time between placing your order and receiving your products keeps getting worse. If you wait until the Christmas shopping season, the delays will be even greater.
The good news is that manufacturers’ production times have begun to return to normal; however, there are still delays getting items to stores. There are also delays on the retail side when it comes to getting products out the door.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, I’m certainly shopping early this year. Although many retailers have opened back up, I don’t have any level of assurance they will be open through December.
I’ll also be shopping more independent retailers this year for my gifts. I’ve found that the shipping times are a bit more normal, and they haven’t been affected by surging consumer demands as much as big-box retailers.
Big brands still have a large backlog, and even if the product is in stock, they are struggling to fill and get the orders shipped. Once they finally ship, I may be waiting for up to two more weeks or more to receive my items. Since the beginning of the pandemic, these delays have not gotten any better.
Although it’s difficult to predict anything right now, my best advice is to start your shopping now. In addition, with retailers struggling to get back on track and make up for lost sales, you can find incredible deals.
Every day is like Black Friday now. Retailers are offering anywhere from 40% to 75% off tons of items, if not everything they have in stock. Shopping now will not only save you money, but also ensure you have your gifts in time for Christmas.