The holiday shopping season seems to start earlier every year, but this year retailers have been encouraging people to purchase their gifts now to avoid shipping delays and empty shelves. Supply chain issues that began in 2020 are still impacting the cost and availability of certain products. Major retailers began advertising their holiday sales back in October with some people starting their gift shopping as early as September.
“The pandemic has disrupted every part of the manufacturing and distribution process,” said Erik Thompson, Mercury's vice president of advertising and public relations. “Retailers have not been able to restock shelves or ship orders as quickly as they could in the past. Consumers should begin their holiday shopping now to avoid last minute scrambling or disappointment if the items they want to give are not available.”
Mercury Insurance offers the following tips to keep your holiday shopping as stress free as possible.
Gifts to Purchase Now
It doesn’t matter if you are shopping online or at a brick and mortar store, don’t wait until Black Friday to start shopping. Waiting until Black Friday may not only mean empty shelves and out of stock notices, but shipping delays. Some purchases made at the end of November may not arrive until after Christmas.
- Tech and electronics: The microchip shortage has made its impact across all areas of products but especially for electronics, microchips, and processors. Gifts like the new PlayStation or Xbox have been hard to find and iPhones and iPads may also be in short supply as people purchase these items for gifts.
- Furniture and appliances: The shortages in these goods began in 2020, when pandemic shutdowns started and homeowners found themselves staying home using appliances much more frequently as well as looking to change up their living space. Factories had to limit the number of people on the assembly lines which hampered production causing supplies to shrink. Shipping delays from foreign suppliers also delayed deliveries of certain home goods. If you are looking for furniture and appliances now is the time to make those purchases.
- Viral TikTok products: TikTok, the social media platform that exploded in popularity during quarantine, is known for videos created by anyone who signs up for an account. TikTok users not only show off their skills and talents, they also use the platform to review everyday products. This sharing of reviews and tips has turned some products in categories such as makeup, clothing, and pet toys into viral must haves.
Don’t want to worry about shipping delays and empty store shelves this Christmas? Digital gifts are almost always in stock and in some cases they can be emailed immediately to your recipient.
- Gift cards: One of the most popular items that can be given both in person and virtually is a gift card. Retail stores, restaurants, video games, airline tickets, there is a gift card for almost everything. What makes gift cards so versatile is that they can be purchased in person or online. Not only are gift cards a great last minute gift, they also offer choice so your recipient can pick the gift they want.
- Cameo: Cameo is an online service that provides personalized videos from celebrities that can be delivered within 24 hours. There are thousands of celebrities and social media influencers available for Cameo videos and range from online talent to celebrities with household name recognition.
- Digital subscriptions or memberships: Digital subscriptions and memberships are available for anything from apps and newspapers to gym memberships and skill development classes.
- Sponsorship gifts: Perfect for those who would like to donate to their favorite non-profit, sponsorship gifts offer the recipient a chance to financially help causes they find important.
- Virtual Classes: During the pandemic cooking classes became a big hit. But culinary classes aren’t the only things that are being offered virtually. There are classes for self and professional development, the learning of a new language, as well as those looking to enhance their lifestyle and productivity.
Once you’ve got everyone on your holiday list covered, why not give yourself the gift of insurance. Mercury Insurance makes it easy to shop online for insurance and has been ranked best among all insurers in the segment for its overall digital shopping experience, according to the J.D. Power U.S. 2021 Insurance Digital Experience Study.
Don’t let this holiday season take you by surprise. Planning your holiday budget and researching what gifts are available now to avoid stock and shipping delays and allow for flexibility in the purchases you make. Any item that you can find and purchase on time this year is going to be the best gift.