Despite Supply Chain Challenges, Shoppers ‘Won’t Go Home Empty-handed’

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

National Retail Federation | November 10, 2021

Everyone is wondering how retail will withstand the 2021 holiday season with supply chain impacts. Will there be products on store shelves or available online when consumers want them? Will the disruptions lead to higher retail prices? Despite these challenges, retailers are working to ensure that products will be available for the holidays. With consumer demand remaining strong, NRF expects another record-setting holiday season with sales forecast to grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020.

To achieve this, retailers are encouraging consumers to begin their holiday shopping early. Consumers are listening, with 49% starting before November and more than one-third saying they did so because they don’t want to miss out on key holiday items.

Experts agree disruptions will continue well into 2022. Overseas is seeing shortages in production, empty containers and vessel space. Port congestion issues are ongoing at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which account for 40 percent of U.S. imports. Terminals are full and waiting to be unloaded while retailers manage the shortage of truck drivers and warehouse workers.

The administration is paying attention and trying to figure out what it can do, as evidenced by the appointment of a port envoy and a White House supply chain summit where NRF shared retailers’ concerns about the ongoing challenges. The administration needs to continue to bring stakeholders to the table to develop creative solutions that will address today’s disruptions and focus on a 21st century global supply chain.

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