hands wrapping holiday gift

Delivery Delays Could Lead to Empty Shelves This Holiday Season

Consumers Blame Delivery Companies, Not Retailers for Delays

Consumers are expected to face record amounts of out-of-stock items this holiday season as shipping delays and supply-chain issues threaten to wreak havoc on holiday season operations. But retailers are not expected to feel the wrath of consumers’ frustrations. Analysts expect that delivery companies like UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) will bear more of the blame.

On-time performance at FedEx, UPS, and the US Postal Service was down month-over-month in September, but that is due to a number of factors, such as shipping container shortages, manufacturing delays, and a shortage of truck drivers and warehouse workers.

Consumers Should Expect Out-of-Stock Items

To ease some of the strains in the supply chain, the White House announced a plan last week to alleviate congestion at West Coast ports. TTo get packages to retailers and customers, the Biden administration will have delivery companies continue operating on weekends and off-peak hours at the nation’s West Coast ports.

This holiday season, the amount of items that are out of stock is expected to increase by 172% year-over-year and 360% when compared to 2019. The apparel industry is forecast to be particularly hard-hit, followed by sporting goods, baby gear, and electronics.

Strong Holiday Sales Expected, Despite Issues

Despite supply-chain and inventory problems, this holiday season is expected to be a strong one. Sales are surging online and in stores as consumers try to get ahead of shipping delays. A forecast by Adobe Analytics (ADBE) calls for digital sales in the US from November 1 to the end of 2021 to reach $207 billion, marking a 10% increase year-over-year. Sales could be up as much as 15% compared to last year.

The supply chain is somewhat chaotic heading toward the holidays but consumers, retailers, shipping companies, and the government are finding creative solutions so that supply-chain snares don’t hamper the holidays.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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