Interestingly, the silicon shortage could trigger some sort of low-tech buying season, one analyst says, and that might not necessarily be such a bad thing.
Each year, Black Friday serves as the economic cornerstone of the holiday shopping season, with retailers offering a number of sweeteners and “door-to-door” discounts to attract shoppers. Amid a global semiconductor chip shortage, delivery delays, and a modern plague, the unofficial launch of this year’s retail blitz may look a little different, to say the least. one could say. So what products might be untouched by the ongoing silicon shortages, and is it too late for people to start shopping?
Crisps Shortage: A Holiday Buying Guide
In recent months, semiconductor chip shortages have crippled production of products in industries ranging from new cars and laptops to popular game consoles. In the automotive space, vehicles almost finished without chips accumulating while waiting for their brains. Shortages and shipping bottlenecks only add to the conundrum. Almost a year after the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, gamers are still struggling to get their hands on a new unit.
SEE: IT expense reimbursement policy (TechRepublic Premium)
Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insight at the National Retail Federation, said these evolving supply chain disruptions “pose a threat to many retailers,” explaining that the companies have used a a number of “mitigation strategies” focused on these disruptions as demand increased. , this includes “advancing their peak shipping season to import the product earlier than normal”.
Overall, she said many shoppers “plan ahead and look to check items off their list before the holidays.” Citing a September 2021 NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, Cullen said 36% of vacation buyers plan to start browsing and buying for the season earlier than usual.
Historically, businesses have used a number of tactics and flash sales to entice shoppers, so how do retailers attract shoppers ahead of the holiday season when the shortage is running?
“As retailers begin to stock their shelves and inventory online with holiday merchandise, they will also be launching their seasonal promotions and offers so consumers can shop safely and shop earlier to avoid stress. last minute long queues and shipping delays, ”Cullen mentioned.
Discussing how these shortages could have a particular impact on shopping and preparing for Black Friday, Cullen said retailers have been preparing for this holiday season for some time, explaining that companies are investing in technology to help consumers browse available inventory and list alternative store locations if a product is available. elsewhere as well as the expected delivery times.
Retail tech aside, much of the shopping conundrum rests with consumers vying for a slice of the limited silicon pie as the holiday season approaches.
“These chips affect almost all types of consumer technology, which has become one of the main, if not the main category of holiday gifts,” said Jens Gamperl, CEO of Sourcengine.
Although Gamperl said it was not too late to start shopping, he warned that shortages would likely “complicate” matters and recommended starting holiday shopping “as soon as possible” to mitigate the risks of shortage and delay of shipment.
“Will there be Black Friday this year? That’s a question I ask myself and my colleagues,” Gamperl said.
While he said companies are doing everything possible to bring inventory to the market, “we know that products that draw people in droves on Black Friday,” like popular game consoles, will be “even rarer. than usual”.
Glenn O’Donnell, vice president and research director at Forrester, said many consumer electronics, including PCs, game consoles and smartphones, will be “in short supply,” adding that “most products “that will appear on holiday wish lists are” in process. now or already been. ”
“Buy early or you may not be able to later,” he continued.
SEE: Juggling between remote work and child rearing is a colossal task. Here’s How Employers Can Help (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Low-tech holiday souvenirs and gifts
Interestingly, these supply chain disruptions could also pave the way for a wave of return giveaways this holiday season. As we reported earlier, the silicon shortage seemed to be spurring some sort of retro gaming revival, as consumers seek returning gaming systems amid new console shortages and re-supply issues. Returning games aside, the relatively less tech options, in general, could have added some appeal this year as well.
“Retailers claim they have sufficient inventory for the season,” O’Donnell said. “Products that don’t plug in or don’t have batteries are probably fine. Many that require power will be problematic.”
When asked if we can head for a holiday shopping season focused on comparatively less technologically sophisticated items, O’Donnell said he believes the holiday shopping season will “indeed have”. “tend to” move more than expected towards low-tech gifts “, and anticipates the shortage of chips to” probably “repeat this situation during holiday shopping next year.
But the result of a less tech-savvy gifting season could have a few benefits for consumers to keep in mind. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes.
Speaking of which, O’Donnell said he hoped “the high tech crisis might actually spawn some creativity in children.”
“Instead of a doll that interacts verbally and has a Bluetooth connection with your smartphone, maybe the child can engage in that magical imagination that children naturally have,” he continued.
Rather than offering more high-tech offerings, O’Donnell suggested giving a kid a classic Tonka truck that they can push manually by hand.
“The future belongs to those who have the imagination,” he continued. “I’m afraid technology will sometimes dilute that imagination by doing everything for you.”