President Biden played down the supply chain crisis plaguing American consumers by comparing the looming shortage of Christmas gifts to years past when fashions took popular toys off the shelves.
“Now, I can’t promise that every person will get all the gifts they want on time – only Santa can keep that promise,” Biden said Wednesday.
“But there are items every year that sell that are hard to find.”
He added, “Some of you moms and dads might remember Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80s or Beanie Babies in the 90s or other toys that sold out on Christmas in recent years. , while there were no supply chain issues. “
Biden also tried to reassure shoppers that stores will be stocked in time for Christmas, saying he met with CEOs of major U.S. companies – FedEx and UPS – on Tuesday who swore they were on the right track. to deliver more packages this year than ever.
But the reality of this holiday season seems to show that it doesn’t matter how mean or nice you’ve been – some gifts will still be hard to come by.
The dual effect of the supply chain bottleneck and inflation, which peaked in three decades, made many basic commodities hard to find, including bicycles, cars, clothing, furniture, food and even Christmas trees.
According to Adobe Analytics, which tracks one trillion visits to US retail websites, out-of-stock messages are up 169% from last year and 258% from last year. two years ago.
“Supply chain issues of this magnitude have not happened in recent memory,” said Craig Johnson, president of the research and consulting firm Customer Growth Partners.
“A lot of Christmas products are perishable in the sense that the peak demand is between October and December and if the delivery of certain items like coats is delayed, the manufacturer does not recoup that sale. “
In a pessimistic prediction, Johnson added, “We are seeing an impact of $ 12 billion in lost retail sales due to a shipment not arriving on time. That’s about 1.5% of fourth-quarter sales of $ 813 billion.
Gerald Storch, former CEO of Toys R Us and the Hudson’s Bay Company, owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, said, “Anything with a computer chip in it is harder to find right now. “
Also rare, he said, are “any products made in Vietnam, where factories closed during Christmas time.”
In a blog post, Julie Lennet, toy consultant for market research firm NPD Group, said, “I have compiled a list of the best-selling toys in each of the past four weeks, based on NPD data.
“During my Black Friday visits to three of the 5 biggest retailers in the US, I couldn’t find 14 of the 34 best toys and only six toys were found in the three,” she wrote. .
“By visiting alternative stores and their online sites, I was able to find additional toys that were not in stock in the first stores I visited.”
Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, is one of the toy makers struggling with the supply bottleneck.
“I can see an ocean full of containers,” Larian told CNBC of the view from his Malibu home of ships lined up outside the Port of Los Angles. “Ship after ship after ship full of containers awaiting unloading. “
He said his business inventory of LOL Surprise, Rainbow High and Little Tikes could only meet about 65% of his orders.
And he expects sales this year to increase only 18-20% from last year.
Other popular toys that will be hard to find this year include Tonka Trucks, Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Stunt Tire Playset, and LEGO Super Mario Adventures With Mario Starter Course, according to Parade.com.
A poll by accounting firm KPMG found that 82% of retail executives polled said they were “somewhat” or “very concerned” about inventory shortages this year.
“I can’t remember a time when concerns about inventory were so great,” said Scott Rankin, National Consulting Manager for the Consumer and Retail Team for the Consulting Practice in the United States. States of KPMG in Boston.
The Republican National Committee blasted Biden for pushing back his $ 2 trillion Build Back Better social spending program as Americans face a difficult holiday season.
“Skyrocketing prices, empty store shelves and shattered supply chains are hallmarks of Biden’s Build Back Broke program failure,” spokeswoman Emma Vaughn said in a statement released after the remarks by the chairman.
“Americans are enduring one of the most expensive holiday seasons in history, but that won’t stop Biden and the Democrats from pumping billions of dollars in unnecessary spending into our economy, which will only make it worse. inflation. If Biden’s plan is empty shelves and higher prices, then he’s right – it works, ”she said.