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11/01/2021

Consumers worried about shortages this holiday season

A new survey from Numerator showed that shoppers are concerned about shortages this holiday season, and will be flexible with looking for ways to find items they need without spending more.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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The holiday season is well underway for major retailers. Kohl’s, Walmart, BJ’s Wholesale Club and more have announced new holiday exclusive branded and private label items, promotions, and expanded delivery and in-store pick up options to meet the holiday needs.

Consumer insights company Numerator released a quick-pulse survey of 368 consumers to learn more about how Americans will shop this holiday season. Above all else, the number one concern for shoppers is the availability of products.

Over 75% of shoppers are worried that product shortages will have an impact on their holiday shopping. While most are either slightly or somewhat concerned, 8% are extremely concerned, while 14% are moderately concerned.

The categories consumers most expect to be hit by the supply chain issues are overwhelmingly electronics (54%) and toys & games (48%). Gaming consoles are expected to be in short supply for at least another year due to the shortage of power-regulating chips.

According to Numerator, over a third of consumers say they will start shopping earlier than usual this year. And good news for store brands, respondents said they were willing to be flexible if items they needed were out of stock by either substituting products or shopping at a wider set of retailers. And despite the flexibility, only 3% of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay a higher price in order to get products in short supply.

Shoppers also plan to start shopping earlier this year. Nearly half say they’ve already started, and a third will begin shopping in November. “Before October” and “late October” received the highest point change compared to the typical year, at +9 and +7 respectively, and 41% of those who have already started holiday shopping say they have noticed product shortages. 

Finally, Numerator’s study showed that most people plan to stop their holiday shopping in early (26%) or late (25%) December. 25% of shoppers say they will complete their shopping earlier than a typical year, 12% say later.

With supply chain issues continuing, retailers and shoppers alike will have to be flexible while navigating shopping during the upcoming holidays.