9 gifts that cannot be found due to delivery bottlenecks

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    You’ve probably heard that Christmas shopping is going to be a nightmare that even the Grinch couldn’t imagine. Supply chain problems, supply bottlenecks and labor shortages will make it harder to find large items.

    In the meantime the demand has increased. The market research company The NPD Group Inc.

    If you haven’t started shopping already, don’t panic. As long as you are flexible, you are sure to find plenty of gifts. But if you feel like shopping for any of these nine items, it’s time to start your hunt ASAP.

    9 gifts that will be ridiculously hard to find this year

    Here are nine gifts that are likely to run low over the holidays. If someone you love has one of these items on their wish list, expect your options are limited – and be prepared with a backup plan.

    1. Game consoles

    The 2021 Christmas season is turning out to be a disappointing one for gamers. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are still hard to find almost a year after they were first released. Now Nintendo has just announced that it will reduce production of its Nintendo Switch by 20% for fiscal year 2021.

    The global chip shortage is only one factor. The demand for play equipment has increased since the pandemic began as people looked for ways to entertain themselves at home. Add to the frustration that people are increasingly competing with bots to buy popular consoles. Then the game systems bought by bots show up at unofficial retailers at an exorbitant premium.

    Unfortunately, consoles will still be hard to find after the holidays. The bottlenecks are expected to last until autumn 2022 or even 2023.

    Pro tip

    If you can add a console to your online cart, don’t wait to complete more purchases. Stop by now, because bots are faster than humans.

    2. Bicycles

    COVID-19 closed gyms last year, causing most people to avoid public transportation. As a result, millions of non-cyclists rushed to buy new bicycles for both leisure and cycling. As demand has increased, the bicycle industry has faced plant closings in Asia, where most of the bicycles are manufactured, and shipping backlogs.

    MarketWatch reported in October that it now takes more than 70 days from the time the order is placed to when the bike arrives at the warehouse. It only lasted 45 days before the pandemic. Many in the bicycle industry expect the bottlenecks to persist through 2022.

    3. iPhone 13

    Apple has outperformed many of its competitors on supply chain constraints due to its enormous purchasing power and long-term supplier agreements. But even the most valuable company in the world is feeling the pinch of the global chip shortage.

    Apple is now expected to deliver 10 million less of its new iPhone 13 by the end of 2021 than originally forecast. New iPads, MacBook Pros and the Apple Watch Series 7 are also likely to be scarce.

    At the time of this writing in early November, Apple’s website listed estimated delivery dates of less than a week for the cheaper standard iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini. But for the more expensive iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 ProMax, the expected delivery dates will last until mid-December.

    A man proposes marriage to his girlfriend for Christmas. Your dog is jumping up in the photo.
    Getty Images

    4. Engagement rings

    COVID-19 brought diamond mining, trading and cutting to a standstill in spring 2020. However, the demand for jewelry remained surprisingly high. Demand is likely to keep rising as the feeling of normalcy returns and couples can safely plan vacations (where suggestions are often made) and weddings. Investors are also increasingly looking for diamonds, which puts more pressure on demand.

    Retailers are now struggling to source diamonds and precious metals. If you are asking the question over the holidays or want to give someone a stunning piece of jewelry, be sure to allow more time and money. The New York Times reports that colored stones like emeralds and rubies could be especially expensive and difficult to find this season due to production problems in mines around the world.

    5. Cars

    Car manufacturer commercials make you think it’s perfectly normal to wake up on Christmas morning with a gift of a shiny new set of wheels. However, we suspect this is quite rare. This is good news because the 2021 holiday season is going to be a terrible time to buy a car.

    The global chip shortage and shipping problems have hit the auto industry hard. Meanwhile, the pandemic has fueled demand for vehicles as people avoid public transportation.

    As a result, the average price of a new car topped $ 45,000 for the first time in history in September, up 7.7% year over year, according to the Kelley Blue Book. Even prices for traditionally affordable brands like Hyundai, Kia (up 15.4% YoY) and Mitsubishi (up 23.8% YoY) are rising. Meanwhile, the latest consumer price index poll showed used car prices have risen 26.4% in the past 12 months.

    Dealers currently have wafer-thin stocks. Available vehicles are often less popular models, but they sell well above the sticker price. If someone you love is hoping to find a new set of car keys in their stocking, now is a good time to remind them that there is always next year.

    A little girl drives a pink toy car on Christmas Day.
    Getty Images

    6. Toys

    Demand for toys was consistently high throughout the pandemic as parents tried to entertain bored children from home. But for a few months now, manufacturers have been warning that toys could be hard to find this season. Materials like the plastic and resin that many toys are made of are in short supply. Excessive shipping prices as well as a lack of storage space and truck drivers could lead to bottlenecks.

    Retail forecasters disagree on how big the toy shortage will be. It will likely be harder than usual to find the most popular toys of 2021. But unless you’re looking to shop for the hottest toys of the season, your options should be plenty.

    7. Sneakers

    Expect your choices to be limited when buying someone a new pair of shoes this holiday season. Rubber and plastic are key materials for sneakers, and both are currently in short supply.

    The footwear industry is also facing the same problems virtually every manufacturer struggles with, such as port congestion, labor shortages and factory closures in Asia. In fact, Nike’s CFO said on a conference call on Sept. 23 that the company had lost 10 weeks of production since mid-July in Vietnam, where much of its manufacturing takes place.

    You probably won’t have any trouble finding shoes this season, but the inventory you find may be older and less popular designs. Be ready to shell out more too. According to Footwear News, shoe prices rose 6.5% year over year in September.

    Pro tip

    Shipping costs are expected to peak between December 20th and December 12th. 21, according to Adobe Analytics. Last minute gift purchases cost buyers an average of $ 15 per order.

    8. Surprise bestseller

    We started reading more during the pandemic. Most of the time we devoured books about dead trees instead of downloading titles to our iPads and Kindles.

    As the demand for printed books has skyrocketed, raw materials for making books have become scarce. Pulp, an essential ingredient in papermaking, and ink are both rare. Many US print shops have also closed over the years as the publishing industry predicted the decline of printed books and the rise of e-books.

    You don’t have to worry about empty shelves at your local bookstore. If the book you want to give away is a highly anticipated best seller, you should find it easily. It’s the surprise hits that scare booksellers because they may not be able to get new copies in time for the holidays to meet demand.

    A group of friends hold wine in their hands as they take a selfie together this Christmas.
    Getty Images

    9. Wine

    Wine will be scarce this holiday season, but COVID-19 isn’t all to blame. Droughts in California and other western states have depressed grape yields for many vineyards. But most of the vino winemakers sit in oak barrels. Because thanks to the pandemic, glass bottles are in short supply.

    Wine stores are unlikely to run dry this season. However, if you want to buy a particular bottle as a gift or for your own celebration, plan on some alternatives. Alcohol is also popular as a last minute gift so you can shop early to avoid shortages.

    What to do if you can’t buy the gift you want

    If someone in your life has a hard-to-find gift close to their heart, now is a good time to soften expectations. Remind your loved one that these are unusual times. Too many customers chase too few goods, which leads to many people being disappointed. But also remember that it’s not worth breaking your budget or going into debt just to get someone the perfect gift.

    Here are a few solutions to overcome supply chain problems this holiday season:

    • Don’t look for bargains. It should come as no surprise that vacation deals are likely to be stingy this year. Decide how much you are willing to pay and stick with it. If you find a coveted item that you really want to give away, don’t wait for a last minute deal.
    • Buy used carefully. Search thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist for items like bikes and toys.
    • Give them a promissory note. If someone has a heart for something that has been backordered, you can issue them with a certificate showing that it is on the way. Granted, that’s not as exciting as unboxing a brand new game console. On the other hand, however, you can extend the Christmas magic until 2022.
    • Give cash or gift cards. If you’ve been searching for the hottest gifts for too long, there’s nothing wrong with giving away cash or a gift card instead.
    • Stop delaying. With a lot of people doing Christmas shopping in September and October this year, it’s a little late to say “shop early”. But if you hesitate, use this as your warning: the longer you wait, the more painful it will be to shop in 2021.

    Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She writes Dear Penny, a personal financial advisor. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected]




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