The supply chain is the network by which products flow from the factories of suppliers to the inventories of retailers so they can ultimately be purchased by consumers. Corporate supply chains have been under pressure since the pandemic began, 但在2021年的最后几个月,压力加剧了, with demand for goods surging and the holiday season fast approaching.1

加利福尼亚的港口接收了美国40%的石油.S. 进口现在是全天候运转的, but workers still can’t keep up with the rush of container ships arriving from overseas. 11月中旬, there was a record backlog of vessels waiting offshore for more than two weeks to unload their cargo.2 其他的你.S. 港口也很拥挤, and severe shortages of truck drivers and warehouse workers have further slowed the distribution of goods throughout the nation. 这些瓶颈阻碍成品的生产, as well as the inputs and raw materials needed to manufacture products domestically.

Compounding supply-chain issues have been increasing freight and 劳动 costs, 推迟发货, and leaving consumers with higher prices and fewer options since the spring of 2021. As summer turned to fall, logjams remained and time was running out, raising fears that U.S. retailers would not have sufficient inventories of goods to meet consumer demand during the holidays.

The good news is that many businesses responded nimbly to challenging conditions, 一些消费者已经采取了主动, 太. Here’s a glimpse into how these kinks in the supply chain might affect your holiday shopping in 2021.


Many of the nation’s largest retailers anticipated problems and went to great lengths to ensure that shelves would be well stocked with a robust variety of goods in time for the holiday shopping season. 在许多情况下, this required paying much higher freight costs to charter their own smaller ships or cargo planes so they could bypass clogged ports and make up for production delays.3

Such costly measures are usually not an option for smaller retailers, 哪些因素会让他们处于劣势. 在11月的一项调查中, 48% of small businesses reported that supply-chain disruptions are having a significant negative impact on their holiday sales.4

期待热情的消费者需求, the National Retail Federation forecast record holiday spending of 8.5% to 10.比2020年水平高出5%. But retailers have also warned consumers that sporadic product shortages and shipping delays would continue and perhaps worsen later in the season.5


U.S. 零售业增长.7% in October, a surprisingly strong showing and the third monthly increase in a row.6 The potential for a more limited selection of some types of products has been widely reported, 而且消费者似乎也在关注这个问题. 根据美国零售联合会的年度调查, a record share of consumers (49%) started their holiday shopping before November, and 36% did so to avoid missing the chance to buy key holiday items.7

U.S. households have extra money to spend this year after amassing about $2 trillion in excess savings during the pandemic. This was largely due to historic levels of economic relief provided by the federal government, 加上封锁导致的支出机会减少.8 The recent rise in consumer spending bodes well for retailers and economic growth, but heavy demand also weighs on the supply chain and pushes up prices.


不幸的是, escalating prices for holiday gifts and basic needs could prompt the loudest “bah humbug” of the 2021 holiday season. 随着企业为原材料支付更多费用, 包装, 劳动, 运输, 以及生产和分销产品所需的燃料, 部分额外成本被转嫁到消费者身上.

由消费者价格指数(CPI)衡量,美国各地的价格.S. 经济增长6.2% during the 12 months ending in October 2021 — the highest inflation rate in nearly 31 years. 家用食品价格上涨了.同比增长4%, 而肉类的价格, 家禽, 鱼, 鸡蛋数量激增.9%.9

自2020年10月以来,能源价格总体上涨了30%, and the natural gas that keeps many homes warm and cozy increased 28.每年1%. 过去12个月,汽油价格上涨了近50%, slamming the budgets of households who plan to drive to family gatherings over the holidays.10

Because supply-and-demand shocks have driven these sharp price increases, some economists still believe they are temporary and that inflation will moderate in 2022 as supply constraints ease.11 当然, even short bursts of inflation can be especially painful for consumers with lower incomes and little or no savings, 而且,没有人确切知道油价会持续高企多久.


更贵的是, 一些需求旺盛的产品可能很难找到, and 运输 bottlenecks aren’t the only issue impacting supplies. 全球半导体短缺, 或计算机芯片, 是否限制了各种电子设备的生产, 包括汽车, 家用电器, 笔记本电脑, 智能手机, 电视, 和游戏控制台. 有一些品牌的运动装, 鞋子, and accessories could be affected by a COVID outbreak that shut down factories in Vietnam. 其他报道的短缺包括珠宝, 一些受欢迎的玩具和书籍, 冷冻火鸡, 运输所需的纸箱, 和圣诞树, 真实的和虚假的.12

If you need certain items for entertaining or have family members with specific gifts on their wish lists, 等到最后一分钟再买可能是有风险的. 否则, 在本地购物, 对选择持开放态度, and giving cash or gift cards to be spent later might end up being your best options.

Projections are based on current conditions, are subject to change, and may not come to pass.