Shop early for Christmas?
Last year in early October, this site reported on industry advice to buy early for Christmas.
It isn’t even October yet, but already similar calls are being made.
Among them is the online Association for retailers, IMRG, which is suggesting that customers should shop early for Christmas gifts.
The NPD Group, the world’s 8th largest market researcher, whose UK office tracks the retail industry here closely has the same advice to shop early for Christmas “to avoid shortages, sell outs and price rises”
John Lewis and Boots were among stores stocking Christmas goods as early as August, and Asda is currently running promotions on toys. Current figures for toy sales are not yet available for September, but cashiers are telling us of increased sales of toys at the moment.
China is a major supplier of toys to the UK. As well as port closures through COVID, there is now a major shortage of shipping containers. One supplier said “we’re running out of days to get things onto the water”.
The cost of shipping the containers to the UK from China has risen by up to 8 fold. Shipping costs are taken into account when import duties are calculated, so the duty payments have also increased.
One toy retailer said that the shipping companies “are being referred to as cartels” while another says that shipping companies have “put their prices up massively because they have complete free reign.”
Delays at UK ports, and the delivery driver shortages add to the problem.
In the first half of 2021, 60% of all toy sales were made online. That percentage is expected to increase in the 2nd half of the year.
The shortage of CO2 and its effect on the food industry has been in the news this week. Increased gas prices led to two American owned fertiliser plants shutting down. They account for 60% of Britain’s CO2 production. The UK have paid the company to reopen the plants which – if enough delivery drivers are found – should avert food shortages,for the time being at least.
Most supermarkets have Christmas displays on their grocery aisles already.
Some of the tabloids have suggested that this may be to disguise what would otherwise be gaps on the shelves!