Supply chain experts are warning Christmas shoppers to get moving with shortages of some popular consumer goods considered a certainty in the run-up to the festive season.
Bikes are among the overseas-made items likely to be in short supply in the lead up to Christmas.Credit:Wayne Taylor
Bicycles and sporting goods, including tennis racquets and cricket gear, are going to be in short supply as the global shipping crisis deepens, leaving Australian retailers waiting lengthy periods for deliveries of foreign-made goods.
One Melbourne bike shop told The Sunday Age time had nearly run out for parents looking for a bicycle for their children for Christmas and a logistics specialist says popular toys including LEGO should be ordered or bought as early as possible.
Enrica Centorame, managing director of freight outfit Global Forwarding, said her clients were having huge difficulty getting supplies of sports gear, traditionally popular as Christmas presents.
“Tennis racquets, cricket bats, baseball, or tennis balls … a lot of it’s made in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and there are no ships coming out of India at the moment,” she said.
Ms Centorame advised shoppers to get in early or order online.
“If you find it, buy it,” she said.
“Otherwise, just adjust your expectations for Christmas and maybe have a Christmas in July. Hopefully we’ll start to see a flow of products in the new year.”
Data from online marketplace eBay indicates electronics will be in high demand this Christmas and the hot toy trends will be products like LEGO VIDIYO that combines the plastic bricks beloved of generations of children with an augmented reality app.
“Right now on eBay we’re seeing brands like Apple in high demand with AirPods and Apple Watches among our top-searched items. Meanwhile, gaming continues to be hot with searches for the latest Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation soaring,” eBay spokeswoman Sophie Onikul said.
“When it comes to the kids, sustainability, diversity, interactive and retro toys will be popular under the tree.”
None of the big retailers contacted by The Sunday Age were keen to talk about supply problems. Super Retail Group, which runs Rebel sport, Supercheap Auto, Macpac and BCF, warned investors on Wednesday of “supply challenges” but did not respond to a request for comment.
Discount chain the Reject Shop said this week that supply chain problems wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic would persist until June, although investors were also told “initial Christmas stock” had arrived and was in stores.
Charlie Brown, technology editor with Channel 9’s the Today Show, predicted a steady supply of the smaller gadgets likely to be in high demand, such as phones, smartwatches and accessories, because retailers could simply side-step the shipping crisis and shift the small-volume, high-value goods by airfreight.
But Mr Brown predicted the pinch would be felt by shoppers looking for bulkier items in electronic shops this year.
“The bigger items … TVs, fridges … that’s where you’re seeing the biggest challenges,” he said.
“If you find the product that you want, don’t sit around waiting for Black Friday because there isn’t going to be one in some categories.”
Spiro Kourkoumelis, owner of Brunswick bike shop MyRide, said the supply crunch had sent prices soaring by 15 to 20 per cent and that anyone hoping to buy a bike for a child or adult for Christmas needed to move fast and were already at risk of missing out.
“You need to be putting a deposit down on a bike, if you can find a bike,” he said.
“They [importers] can’t give you concrete dates on production and when the bikes are coming.”
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