Holiday shopping in October: why supply chain experts say you need to shop now, not later

A cargo ship full of containers is waiting to be unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles on October 6, 2021. The port is currently facing a record backlog of ships.

Frédéric J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images

Every year, Black friday marks the start of the holiday shopping season. But if you want a happy, gift-filled Christmas or Hannukah holiday in 2021, you’ll want start shopping now, in October.

A number of factors combine to make giveaways this year difficult, especially for those prone to procrastination. Clogged ports, a stressed trucking industry, labor shortages, higher demand and higher shipping costs all impact shipments of toys, electronics, clothing and more. . Supply chain issues do not only affect imports from China, where many the hottest toys of this year are made, but also shipments within the United States.

“Major retailers expect a strong holiday shopping season, but have warned of limited stocks, longer shipping times, labor shortages and fewer discounts,” recently reported Morgan Stanley economists said. told investors.

US ports struggle to keep up with imports

One of the biggest problems in the supply chain is the backlog at US ports. Late last month, CBS News reported that the Port of Los Angeles, which handles 40 percent of U.S. imports, is facing a register the backlog.

“The buying force of the American consumer is so strong and epic that we cannot absorb all of this cargo into the national supply chain,” said Gene Seroka, Port of Los Angeles manager.

Ports on the east coast are also registering record volumes. The New York and New Jersey Port Authority recently reported that it moved more cargo in August 2021 than in any other August on record.

There are also a lot of domestic shipping delays

waiting at the post office
The cost of shipping packages through the post office increased on Oct. 3, when the USPS began to introduce peak season pricing. The move temporarily increases the cost of shipping packages to between $ 0.75 and $ 5, depending on size and destination, until December 26, 2021.

Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Of course, unloading cargo from ships is only the first step in getting the hottest toys of this year, clothing and more from Asia on store shelves. Shipments must also be placed in trucks. And there just aren’t enough trucks to get everything where it needs to go without big delays.

“There are on average about 16 full load shipments available for each truck available to move product out (ports)”, Bob Biesterfeld, CEO of shipping logistics company CH Robinson, told CBS News.

Scott Price, the international president of shipping giant UPS, said he half-jokingly warns people to “order your Christmas presents now, because otherwise on Christmas day there might just be a photo of something that won’t happen until February or March.” And the United States Postal Service is preparing for an increase in holiday shipping volumes by increasing rates and slow first class mail delivery, as of October 1. (Send these greeting cards early in the year too!)

Here’s how to avoid the shipping crisis this holiday season

The country’s supply chain is stressed, but you shouldn’t be. There are plenty of great pre-Black Friday sales on Amazon, Nordstrom, Kohl’s and other retailers right now, offering electronics, cookware, clothing and more at deep discounts. Here are some of the best pre-Black Friday deals available right now, as curated by the CBS Essentials team.

Walmart offers before Black Friday

Walmart currently has tons of tech, makeup, home goods, and more.

Hamilton Beach 2lb Digital Bread Maker, Model # 29881


Hamilton Beach Digital Bread Maker, $ 50 (usually $ 70)

Keurig K-Duo Essentials Single Serve Coffee Maker and Carafe


Keurig K-Duo Essentials Single Serve Coffee Maker and Carafe, $ 79 (usually $ 99)

Best Buy offers before Black Friday

Best Buy has TVs, laptops, video games, and more tech for sale.

ASUS Chromebook

Best buy

ASUS 11.6 “Chromebook, 4GB memory, 32GB storage, $ 119 (was $ 219)

Ulta offers before Black Friday

Find makeup, skincare, perfumes and more at Ulta.



Prince U Got the Look Vegan Eyeshadow Palette, $ 28 (usually $ 55)

Natural and Polished Anastasia Beverly Hills Starter Kit


Anastasia Natural & Polished Starter Kit, $ 17 (regularly $ 24)

Amazon deals before Black Friday

Amazon sales before Black Friday, featuring what the company calls “epic deals,” is underway. You can save big on devices, toys, clothing, kitchenware, beauty products, and more powered by Alexa. Here’s a sample of what’s on sale.

Echo Show 8


Echo Show 8, $ 70 (instead of $ 110)

Instant Omni Pro 14-in-1


Instant Omni Pro 14-in-1 Air Fryer and Convection Oven, $ 250 (was $ 300)

Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Wooden Dolls Bunk Bed


Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Wooden Dolls Bunk Bed, $ 40 (was $ 54)

Love, Diana Sing Along Popstar Doll


Love, 13-inch Diana Sing-Along Popstar Doll and Functional Microphone, $ 30 (was $ 35)

Nordstrom offers before Black Friday

Nordstrom offers markdowns on men’s, women’s and children’s fashion, home and more.

Disney x Casetify Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Disney x Casetify insulated water bottle


Keep thirst at bay with this Disney x Casetify Insulated Water Bottle (26 oz) featuring a retro design of Minnie Mouse or the entire Mickey Mouse band.

Disney x Casetify Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, $ 29

Nordstrom Snuggle Plush Faux Fur Slipper


Nordstrom Snuggle Plush Faux Fur Slipper, $ 15 (was $ 29)

GameStop offers before Black Friday

GameStop has great deals on video games, gaming accessories, action figures and more.

The Last of Us Part 2


The Last of Us, Part II for PlayStation 4, $ 26 (was $ 40)

Wayfair offers before Black Friday

Find furniture, small kitchen appliances, bedding and more at Wayfair.

The Magic Bullet Countertop Blender


The Magic Bullet Countertop Blender, $ 40 (was $ 57)

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