Chain Reaction: Shop early, expect fewer deals this Black Friday

Chain Reaction: Shop early, expect fewer deals this Black Friday

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time to shop for those holiday gifts you’ve been putting off.

If you’ve been waiting for Black Friday to snag a few good deals, there’s a few ways things will be different this year, thanks to unprecedented supply chain issues.

“If you are somebody who’s a gift giver who waits until the last minute, you’re likely going to see some empty shelves this holiday season,” Kaitlin Wowak said, Associate Professor of IT, Analytics and Operations at the University of Notre Dame.

Putting off buying gifts until the last minute probably wasn’t a good idea in years past. But in 2021, that’s especially true because of chaos in the supply chain.

“COVID is really changing consumer buying preferences and habits. This year you need to move up your shopping if you want to want to get some gifts under the Christmas tree.”

You should expect fewer deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday due to manufacturing shut downs and shortages, prices of raw materials increasing, trucking delays, and port congestion.

After cutting back on spending during quarantines and remote work, Americans have splurged this year. That means there are rising costs for things like food, gas, and holiday gifts.

The US Labor Department reports that consumer prices jumped 6.2% in October. That’s the biggest inflation surge in more than 30 years.

Nearly 2 million more people are expected to shop from Thanksgiving day through Cyber Monday this year compared to last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Meaning if something’s in stock now… it may not be come next week!

Port congestion is a big reason why shopping in person may be the safer bet this year.

“This year shopping online could be the riskier strategy if you want products to be under the Christmas tree, Christmas morning,” Wowak said. “You could see a lot more people shopping in person than you have in the past. It does provide a number of benefits. You leave with the product in hand, you know you’re going to have gifts for your loved ones.”

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