ARKANSAS, USA — The pandemic has been no stranger to shortages and parents might want to get a head start on purchasing gifts this year because of the most recent one: a shortage of toys.
Kelsi Evans owns Tantrums Children’s Boutique, specializing in toys, accessories, books, and clothing. Right now, she's preparing for a challenging holiday shopping season.
"So the biggest problem right now is just shipping,” said Evans.
Local economists said toy shelves are expected to look a little less full this year, and it's all due to the ongoing saga of the worldwide supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic.
"Presently, the focus is on container ships. This is the time of year when all the Christmas goodies are coming into the ports in both California and New York, and right now there are dozens of those ships waiting outside those ports waiting to be unloaded,” said Dr. Michael Pakko, local economist.
The shortage doesn't impact any particular toy item, it's all things, even clothing and accessories.
"It's totally out of my comfort zone, I usually encourage people that I can reorder it, but these days I can't,” said Evans.
This means you may not be able to find what you want and may have to settle for something different, especially the closer we get to the holidays.
The supply shortage comes at a more difficult time this holiday season when economist predict a 7% to 9% increase in holiday spending.
"We are kind of trapped in between an economy that's trying to get going again and a very strong consumer demand as we head into the holiday season."
For Tantrums, Evans worked proactively this year by ordering popular items like Unicorn Bouncer toys months ago, setting them aside for holiday sales.
But once they are gone, it's a big possibility that a reordered product at this point won't make it in time for gift-giving.
So, retailers encourage you to shop early.
“If you can get it today, get it today,” said Evans.