Supply chain concerns have motivated some holiday shoppers to get an early start this year, but even those who started near the beginning of November are encountering roadblocks.
In a recent survey from small business product review company Digital.com, the most popular time for respondents to start shopping this year was early- to mid-November. Despite early starts, consumers are still struggling to find what they're looking for. According to the survey, those who plan to wait longer are likely to face even bigger obstacles.
Items in short supply
In a separate holiday shopping survey, conducted in November of this year, 50% of consumers reported being concerned about empty shelves, unavailability of certain products and shipping delays this season. Those concerns may have motivated more consumers to start shopping early, but many are still working to find the gifts they want.
According to the Digital.com survey, 56% of respondents reported they would begin shopping before Black Friday, but as of the survey's date (Nov. 28), 40% had not completed their lists. Here's where shoppers say they've had had the most trouble so far:
- 47% say they could not find clothes, shoes or other apparel items
- 43% encountered a short supply of electronics
- 38% could not find the toys they wanted
According to respondents, other hard-to-find items included jewelry, home furnishings, exercise equipment, appliances, and books or media.
A change of plans
In the survey, 16% of respondents said they don't plan to start shopping until the week of Dec. 20. As consumers scramble to finish their shopping lists, and inflation rates soar, they may end up spending far more money than planned to make up for supply chain disruptions. This is what respondents said:
- 38% will spend more on holiday gifts this season
- 48% of shoppers will increase their budget by over $1000
By some accounts, a $1,000 increase in holiday shoppings budgets could mean doubling the amount consumers planned to spend for the holiday. But shopping-related pressures may not be the only reason for the increase in spending. Of those who said they would be shopping with a bigger budget, 24% indicated that they would do so because they have a higher-paying job this year.
If shoppers can't find the gifts they're looking for, whether due to budget restrictions, supply issues or otherwise, the majority (64%) say they'll buy gift cards. After that, cash (35%) and handmade gifts (22%) are the most popular alternatives.
Methodology: Digital.com commissioned this study which was administered via the online survey platform Pollfish. On Nov. 28, 2021, the survey was distributed to 1,250 American adults ages 18 and older.