Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping have always been a bit stressful. Busy malls, sold-out turkeys, and Black Friday madness aren’t new. But this year, between pandemic restrictions, labor shortages, and supply chain disruption, you can count on holiday shopping looking a little bit… different.
Because of supply chain issues, fluctuating prices on common goods, and increased consumer demand, shortages are coming into play for the holidays. Consumers can expect a “shopocalypse” as COVID-related shipping issues slow down the movement of goods from manufacturers to the shelves of retail stores.
International brands aren’t exempt from the effects of COVID, either. For example, the sales of H&M slowed down in September because of delivery delays. Nike, known for creating innovative products for athletes, also lowered its sales forecast for Thanksgiving after closing 80% of its factories in Vietnam. Bed Bath and Beyond’s revenue also fell 26% due to shipping issues.
Black Friday used to be the official kick-off for all things Christmas, but no longer. Amazon launched its Deals for Days holiday discounts on October 4th this year. Major retailers across the board are already offering Black Friday-worthy deals, and half of Americans started their holiday shopping in October.
If you haven’t started shopping for gifts yet, now’s the time. Here are a few tips to help you survive the 2021 Shopocalypse.
4 Top Holiday Shopping Tips for 2021
1. Start Early
Unlike previous years, don’t wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to get major discounts from your favorite retailer. Stores across the board are already offering holiday deals, and even if you wait you won’t see the same discounts as in previous years. If you’re planning to get someone a new iPhone, buy one as soon as possible before the item goes out of stock.
2. Be Realistic
Some retailers are whittling down their products to ensure that they can keep certain items in stock. When buying products for the holiday, don’t fixate on a specific color or style. Be realistic and consider other styles, or even alternative products.
3. Shop From Local and Domestic Stores
When shopping for gifts, buy from local and domestic stores. Aside from having the opportunity to check out the items in person, shopping from local and domestic stores (rather than buying items online) is also the best way to make sure that your loved ones receive their presents on time.
4. Handmade and Local
Stop by your local craft and artisan Christmas fairs to find handmade goods from local craftsmen. Hop on Etsy to order something custom for your special someone. Explore resources like Made in Nevada to find everything from clothes and art to food and wine made in your area. Cut the shipping risks and buy local at the same time.
5. Shop Experiences, Not Things
Great gifts don’t have to come in a box. Consider gifting your friends and family something less tangible this year. Plan to take them to see their team play, or to a concert. Take them out to tackle the local escape room. Plan and book a date night for your favorite couple. Just make sure to plan ahead for any COVID restrictions at the venue, and get some cancelation insurance, just in case.
Start Shopping Now
As you shop for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, don’t forget that 2021 has taken a toll on everyone — from small business owners to customer service associates. Help businesses recover from the pandemic by shopping early, shopping local, and being kind.