COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (KRDO) - A warning for any Southern Colorado procrastinators: you’re already late when it comes to holiday shopping. Global supply chain issues could turn out to be the Grinch that stole Christmas.
There could be fewer gifts under the tree this year because they’re trapped on boats, planes, and semi-trucks across the United States and beyond, according to a local economist.
“I don’t see a way that suddenly within the next four weeks these bottlenecks are going to ease," said Tatiana Bailey, the Director of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' Economic Forum.
The supply chain issues we’ve been dealing with for over a year now will only increase with the Christmas shopping rush, Bailey says. A labor shortage, COVID shutdowns, and transportation and logistic issues are all combined for a perfect storm.
“They’re all pretty complex issues to solve, it’s not something that is going to go away overnight or even that legislation can be instilled overnight that will make a material difference," said Bailey. "It’s going to take many, many months.”
The supply chain issues mean you should start your holiday shopping early to avoid delays. Even then, there’s no promise that presents will get to you on time. This is especially important for those who have young children -- a lot of the most popular toys for that age group need to be shipped to the United States from China.
“Be maybe a little more astute," said Bailey. "I think most of us are pretty spoiled. We can go out and say, ‘Hey, you know my kid wants this or that,’ and you just have to go find it. So A: not only have more lead time, but B: also expect to either pay more, or just have different choices out there.”
And if it’s not your gift that’s more expensive, the current economy will find a way to deplete your wallet in other ways over the next two months.
“Let’s just even say that the basket of goods that someone buys for Christmas, the inflationary pressures haven’t been too bad," said Bailey. "Well, that same household is paying 21% more on beef, 25% more on natural gas as the winter months head in, and so forth. So, one way or the other most households are going to hit some type of inflationary pressure."
Bottom line: these supply issues and inflationary pressures the world has been dealing with for a year now will not go away before Thanksgiving or Christmas. So it’s best to get your shopping done soon and be sure to have a backup plan if your item isn’t in stock.