Is your Christmas shopping list in trouble?

Santa will have a harder time getting Christmas presents this year. (Photo: Getty).

Global shipping is in disarray as COVID-19, the Suez Canal crisis and a container shortage cause cascading problems.

Big brands like Mattel, Hasbro and Nike warn of supply constraints as the holiday season approaches, while locally JB Hi-Fi and Super Retail Group have also raised concerns , JB Hi-Fi already stocking an additional $ 200 million in merchandise. .

For shoppers, that means they’ll have to buy strategically this Christmas, experts have warned.

16-day delivery times to Australia, higher prices

There are two “main dangers” buyers should be aware of when it comes to their Christmas list, said Shippit founder Rob Hango-Zada. Yahoo finances.

Once buyers’ items are in Australia, they should expect delivery times of up to 16 days, depending on which part of the country the item is from and the type of item.

This delay is due to three factors:

  • Australians stuck at home are shopping significantly more online, which means Australia Post is processing Christmas-level delivery volumes almost every day.

  • The facilities used to handle the large number of packages are poorly equipped for the tidal wave of deliveries. For example, larger items like furniture that require manual scanning and loading naturally take longer than a package from The Iconic. The same goes for wine, which has to be processed manually.

  • Then there is the workforce. The longshoremen and couriers engaged in rotating strikes in September and October, citing poor wages and conditions.

Workers at FedEx, StarTrack and BevChain all threatened to strike again on Thursday, citing poor job security and a growing percentage of contract workers.

“Based on performance, these companies should have been the first to offer job security guarantees, pay and fair conditions to reflect the sacrifices and efforts of workers during the pandemic,” said the national secretary of the Transport Workers Union Michael Kaine in a statement.

“Instead, they pushed workers to the brink with no choice but to pursue legal industrial action to break the deadlock before the Christmas demand soared.”

These delays can explode dramatically if buyers purchase items from overseas.

Hango-Zada himself has ordered door handles, which usually take about a week to deliver. Now he faces a 12 week delay in delivery.

“This ocean freight link is failing us and… the shipping costs to import items have skyrocketed… and that price will be built into the price of the products sold,” he said.

This is unlikely to significantly affect domestic packages, but international shipping will be passed on to consumers.

This “perfect storm” will not subside until the end of next year, predicts the Executive Director of the Bureau of Logistics, Steven Thacker. However, he thinks claims that Christmas is in danger are mildly alarmist.

People should expect delays, but the delays will vary widely depending on what they’re ordering and where they’re ordering it from.

How this translates into specific giveaways will depend on the items themselves.

Ditto for the shipping costs. Thacker said that even though the shipping cost increased 200 to 300 percent, that didn’t mean the cost of the actual item would go up that much, as shipping was likely only a small portion of the selling price.

For high value items, this means that the relative price increase will be quite small. For low value items, for which the shipping charge may have been a higher percentage, consumers may notice a higher price.

The bottom line: once it’s gone, it’s gone

The main concern of consumers is that once retailers have sold out their products, they are unlikely to restock in time for late buyers.

“You’d better come in now to consolidate the items you want to buy for Christmas, otherwise you might not even find them in stores,” Hango-Zada said.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said online sales were up 36.2% from 2020 figures, and that trend was not likely to abate.

“This high level of online spending is expected to continue through Christmas and Australians should plan to shop for earlier this year,” Zahra said.

“Forty-eight percent of Christmas shopping is expected to be done online this year, so it’s unlikely that there will be a drop in demand for products online. “

Ango-Zada’s advice to buyers is simple: be smart and see where you get it from.

He suggests shoppers see if their favorite retailers have the click-and-collect option when shopping online: this implies that they likely have the item in store and delivery will be straightforward.

Local shopping means consumers can also dramatically reduce delivery problems simply by not looking for items that need to be shipped by sea or air.

Finder has gathered the latest shipping dates from major Australian retailers to ensure items are delivered before Christmas.

And be patient, Thacker added.

“Understand that it is not you; it’s the whole world, ”he said.

“Accept that almost everything is going to take longer to get here, so plan well in advance.”

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