There’s nothing more heartbreaking than wanting to buy something for someone at Christmas, only to realise it’s nowhere to be found. You’re running around like you’re possessed, desperately trying to find that one shop that still has the item in stock on Christmas Eve, but you repeatedly come up empty-handed. It’s a tragedy, but thankfully, with shopping largely moving online, it’s not one that tends to get repeated as much in the modern day.
Or at least, that’s what we thought. Disquieting rumours suggesting that many toys could be out of stock this Christmas have begun to circulate. The suggestion is that you’ll have to hunt for items you want more thoroughly this year, and that’s down to a number of factors. With the PS5 gaming console still very hard to get (over 1 year since its launch), the question therefore becomes thus: are you going to have to look harder for the things you want in December? Will toys be out of stock this Christmas? Let’s take a look at the situation.
Why do people think toys might be out of stock this Christmas?
The main reason cited by many retailers is that shipping costs have increased. A terminal at the Chinese port of Ningbo-Zhoushan closed in 2020, resulting in capacity at that site being slashed and many companies rushing to try and find extra storage space for their stock. These storage issues and transportation problems seem to be widespread; other retailers are saying that although their warehouses are full, they just don’t have the capacity to ship their products in time for Christmas.
What other factors are affecting potential toy stock issues?
There’s also the fact that there’s a widespread shortage of lorry drivers right now. The Road Haulage Association says that there’s a shortfall of around 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK, and that means there’s simply nobody to transport the goods. Of course, there’s also the fact that in December 2020, although a lockdown was impending and hadn’t yet been imposed, many shoppers stayed away from shops in order to keep themselves safe. With things opening back up in 2021, more shoppers may attend shops this Christmas, leading to more of a rush.
Does this mean no toys for Christmas in 2021?
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A potential toy shortage doesn’t mean you won’t get hold of any toys at all. Even during times of a shortfall in stock, there’s always at least some to go around, but it means you’re going to need to be a little savvier in terms of how you shop for toys this Christmas. You might have to have some difficult conversations with your kids or your loved ones in terms of what you can acquire, unfortunately, and that’s an inevitability of stock shortages.
– How to deal with the potential 2021 toy shortage
Luckily, there are ways you can deal with the potential toy shortage if it does happen. Nobody likes disappointing their loved ones, so here are some of the ways you could deal with the shortage.
Know what you want well in advance
Since the toy shortage is likely to start hitting its hardest around October-November time, when many toys are shipped in order to be sold for Christmas, it helps to know exactly what you want right now. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that heading out to a toy store and buying what you want in August or September would be an excellent idea; that way, you’ll completely circumvent any shortage that does happen, and nobody will have to change their present ideas.
Be prepared to haggle for alternative ideas
If the shortage does bite you hard, then you may need to prepare yourself to haggle with your kids in order to get them to accept a different present. This is not going to be easy; many children have their hearts set on something in particular, and when they do, nothing else will suffice. However, if you explain to them exactly what’s happening (depending on their age, of course) and why you’re having to make compromises, you’d be surprised how understanding kids can be.
Look to alternative avenues
You don’t have to settle on toys as presents for your kids. There are other alternatives, and these won’t suffer from stock shortages. Why not buy them tickets for a show they’ve been wanting to go to, for example? Alternatively, you could perhaps get them a game they’ve been wanting; digital sales aren’t affected by stock shortages, and in the modern era, there’s really no need to opt for a physical copy of a game over a digital one. You could even promise to take them out for a meal, to see a movie, or to go to a particular place on holiday; experiences make great gifts!
Make your own toys
This one’s only for the craft-inclined, but it can be a great way to quash any worries you might have about Christmas being disappointing. If your kids are younger and they’re after toys like dolls, board games, or action figures, why not craft these things yourself? There’s a degree of difficulty in doing so, of course, but the end result will not only let you sidestep the toy shortage; it can also be a beautiful, heartfelt gift that ends up being more warmly appreciated than a toy you purchased. This route isn’t for the faint of heart, but it can pay serious dividends if you commit!