While it may seem that the economy has rebounded from the shutdowns of the pandemic, the truth is, there are still significant problems in the supply chain that are going to have a big impact on holiday shopping. If you’re waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, experts agree that you should not expect things to have gone back to normal by now.
According to Vox, there are a number of issues that retailers, wholesalers and distributors are contending with — ranging from labor-related issues, lack of space for containers on shipping vessels and congestion at U.S. ports t0 trouble with trucker and warehouse worker availability. Jon Gold, a vice president for supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation, told Vox, “The entire system has been stretched.”
So what does this mean for those juicy deals that so many people look forward to on the biggest shopping day of the year?
It means it’s necessary to adjust your expectations and your shopping schedule.
Carlos Castelán, managing director of The Navio Group, a retail consulting firm, said “The holiday season is going to be a test of retailers’ supply chains and operational capabilities. With shortages of many key components for manufacturers as well as labor shortages…retailers are facing a variety of different headwinds across different fronts. The products they want to sell will likely be unavailable.”
As a result, he said, there is no guarantee that the gifts you want to give for the holidays will even be available in stores in November or December.
For Specific Items, Order Now
This year, you may have to sacrifice deals for timeliness, according to Kamyar Shah, a business consultant and marketing executive.
“If it’s something you’re desperate to get before Christmas, then relying on hope and waiting for Black Friday could be a decision that comes back to haunt you,” he said.
Shah recommended that you order special gifts now, especially if that gift is “A hot ticket item that everybody is after.” You can still take advantage of deals on Black Friday, but be aware that stores may be low on products and what you buy online may not arrive in time for the holidays.
It Depends on What You’re Ordering
Truly, whether to shop on Black Friday depends on what you’re shopping for, said consumer analyst Julie Ramhold, with DealNews. “Certain items are going to be hard to come by for the next few months–video game consoles, for instance. Waiting won’t do you any favors.”
Elice Max, co-owner of EMU coupon also urged shoppers to get on it early. “Shopping in October is something many of us have avoided for years, but it might be a necessity now.”
Waiting might mean you miss out on a deal.
Look for Other Deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not the only holiday specials available. Carter Seuthe, CEO of Credit Summit advised that you “Check into the companies that you are interested in shopping at ahead of time to see if they have announced when they are having deals. A lot of companies are starting their Black Friday deals early or are having other deals leading up to Christmas.”
Ramhold also added that many retailers have already realized the odds they’re up against and will be hosting some sales early. Their number includes Target and Amazon. “You might not find the savings you’re hoping for but retailers are definitely making shopping earlier more palatable for consumers,” she said.
Max encouraged consumers to shop other deals by searching with the keyword “coupon” on google and the name of the store they wish to shop from. “If you put in some research, there are amazing discount offers waiting to be availed there,” she said.
Black Friday May Not Be the End-All of Discounts
While there is no doubt that Black Friday deals can be substantial, according to Dan Alder, Editor in Chief and author at Levvel, “There are times when shopping on Black Friday only forces you to spend more since discounts are capped at minimum purchase threshholds.” He urged consumers to instead look for flash sales of other kinds.
Purchase Gift Cards
There are other ways to provide the perfect gift, according to Barbra Bukovac, PwC Vice Chairman of Consumer Markets. “Pass on the physical gifts altogether by shifting to entertainment experiences or gift cards” she advised.
Is Black Friday Ever Worth It?
Ramhold argued that Black Friday deals really are worth it “in an ordinary year.” And the deals may still be spectacular this year, but consumers need to let go of their expectations for when gifts may arrive. “Not everything on sale during Black Friday is worth shopping, but we routinely see plenty of deals that are the best of the year, if not all-time, on many products,” she said.
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Last updated: Oct. 28, 2021