So far in 2020 there have been shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and now with Christmas less than a month away, get ready for a possible toy shortage.
There is some rumbling among toy companies that some of their hottest, most in-demand toys are missing from the store shelves--and virtual galleries--of many retailers, and they're blaming a slow down in operations at West Coast shipping ports.
The shipping bottleneck appears to be mostly impacting smaller and medium sized toy manufacturers for now but could it be predictive of more shortages in holiday goods and all kinds of products?
Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, painted a picture of what the port of LA is like right now and over the course of the year amid the pandemic.
Seroka also said the proper safety protocols are in place when it comes to COVID-19 at the port.
Seroka touched upon how long something sits before it gets moved.
“About five days and that is a little higher than normal simply because it's all been one way trade so far,” he says.
He said “to compound matters with COVID-19 most of us are not spending money on services, we are buying goods whether they be at the retail level, big box or home improvement stores or like many of us, online.”
“We have had a deluge of import cargo coming that started in late June, early July and continues now through this time period where we are see it co-mingling of not only those holiday goods that are traditional but a replenishment of stock in our warehouses, distribution centers and store shelves that is unprecedented in the United States simply because you and I, the U.S. consumer, are buying so many more tangible goods than we normally do during the course of the year,” he said.
In January or February, he said “we will begin to pick up before the pre-Lunar New Year holiday in Asia so we might get a little bit of time to catch our breath and move out this backlog.”
Richard Gottlieb, with Global Toy Experts, says parents might start thinking of adjusting their shopping strategies.
“Be patient. The toys may not be in the store yet but they will eventually be there. If it is not there, might be a good idea to give a child a gift certificate and they can go in and get the toy they want once it is available,” Gottlieb says.
Gottlieb also points out there is a shortage of truck drivers available to get the items from the port to brick and mortar stores or internet delivery warehouses.
Shortages might be really acute for high demand products like the latest Playstations or X-Box consoles.