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Shop Now for Hot Toys and Other Holiday Gifts: Supply Chain Snags Could Get Worse

It's everything from shipping and production delays, rising costs and an energy crisis. You'll have to hustle and adapt this year. Here are a few tips for your holiday shopping.

Although the world’s supply chains are struggling to repair the initial damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, economists predict that this year’s troubles with computer chip shortages, port congestions, and lack of truck drivers will continue well into the next year.

“Border controls and mobility restrictions, unavailability of a global vaccine pass, and pent-up demand from being stuck at home have combined for a perfect storm,” a recent Moody’s Analytics report states. “Global production will be hampered because deliveries are not made in time, costs and prices will rise and GDP growth worldwide will not be as robust as a result.”

So, as the pandemic continues and vaccine access remains globally stratified, the large-scale disruptions within the world’s supply chains “will get worse before they get better,” the report says.

Mandatory power cuts and an immense gas shortage have brought on an energy crisis in China and Europe that has seriously reduced factory output. In turn, increased energy prices are inflating manufacturing costs and skyrocketing consumers’ prices. China is already reeling from this year’s massive chip shortage, and its energy crisis may weaken the world’s electronics industry even further and lead to the increased costs of high-demand items, including some toys.

So, for those of us planning on buying holiday gifts, playing Santa by giving the hottest toys, or expecting orders shipped between now and Christmas, the time to start shopping and planning is now.

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In an effort to counteract the side effects of the world’s product shortages and growing inflation, President Biden recently announced that the Port of Los Angeles will now operate 24/7. One of Biden’s goals is to expand the working hours of major companies impacted by the global supply chain interruptions, including Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, UPS  (UPS) - Get United Parcel Service, Inc. Class B Report, and FedEx  (FDX) - Get FedEx Corporation Report, as well as ease port congestion and enable companies to move more products at night. This will help to keep the inventory moving and shelves stocked.

However, regardless of this increased port access, this year’s holiday season is going to look different from what we’re used to. Numerous retailers have encouraged consumers to start their holiday shopping early amid limited inventory concerns.

Here are a few suggestions for shopping this year:

  • Consider setting up in-stock alerts for items on your gift-giving list.
  • If you order online, get a confirmation that the item is actually in stock and won’t be backordered.
  • If you are going to be shipping gifts, make sure you ship as early as possible to avoid rush delivery costs.
  • If you order a gift online, have it sent directly to the recipient. This will save you time and money.
  • Save all of your receipts and if you order online make sure you save your order and shipping confirmations.
  • And, if you have a family-favorite dish you plan on cooking, shop early for as many of the non-perishable ingredients as you can find.

Jeanette Pavini is an Emmy Award winning journalist specializing in consumer news and protection. She is the author of “The Joy of $aving: Money Lessons I Learned From My Italian-American Father & 20 Years as a Consumer Reporter.” Jeanette is a regular contributor to TheStreet. Her work includes reporting for CBS, MarketWatch, WSJ Sunday, and USA Today. Jeanette has contributed to “The Today Show” and a variety of other media outlets. You can follow her money saving tips and ways to give back on Facebook: Jeanette Pavini: The Joy of $aving Community. Find links to her social media and her book at JeanettePavini.com.