Christmas shopping used to be so simple. They’d pour over the toy catalogues for weeks and eventually write their Santa Letters. You’d blitz it in an evening, put everything away and relax, most important thing done. Now all in their late teens, early twenties, it’s a different story. I must use my imagination, which is in scarce supply this late in the year. ‘’Clothes’’, they say, ‘’what kind’’, I say?, I don’t know. After the year we have had, sticking your head in the sand is not an option.
Things are going to look a bit different this year. Pressure on supply chains, Brexit, rising costs of goods, staff shortages are all contributing to a scenario that could see a lot of disappointed people on December 25th.
Covid’s unpredictable path has blocked ports, especially in China. Closed ports and truckers being forced to quarantine can lead to empty containers stuck in the wrong locations and blank sailings. And the Suez super-tanker blockage put pressure on an already creaking system.
According to the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, it used to typically cost €1,100 to ship a container from China to Ireland. That cost has now sky rocketed to €30,000. Marks & Spencer has already announced it will be unable to offer customers in Ireland Christmas food to order ahead of the festive season, citing ‘too much risk that customers will be let down’ if they tried. Waiting to purchase Christmas toys till after the annual Late Late Toy Show could be too late as many toy retailers in Ireland think they just won’t have the toys in time.
The semiconductor shortage will see a huge demand for electronic goods and a lack of supply. Computers, gaming consoles, phones, cars and home appliances will all be affected. Even tech giant Apple have been affected with the firm rumoured to be cutting production of the iPhone 13 due to the shortage. Experts predict this shortage could drag on for another year or so. High Street favourites such as Smyths Toys, Ikea and Penney’s are urging people to buy sooner rather than later and avoid the risk of losing out.
Due to high demand and shortage of supply, there may be few sales this year. So if you are waiting to buy in the Christmas sales, you might be disappointed. In the USA, according to the Roku and Harris Poll 2021 Holiday Survey, 36% of shoppers plan on spending more this year than they did in 2020. This is the highest number reported since 2018 from the annual survey.
With all this sense of urgency, the Suez Canal, the pressure on supply chains, and in light of the current catastrophic climate crisis, is it time to say STOP. To stop the madness and calm down. We should stay local and shop local.
What do you think?