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Supply chain issues continue, impacting holiday shopping, prices, and product availability

Supply Chain
Posted at 5:43 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 07:41:53-05

TAMPA, Fla. — “Across the board, we’re seeing higher costs for products and services that we buy,” said Robert Hooker, Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of South Florida.

From higher gas prices and groceries to increased rent, economists say supply chain issues are driving inflation and impacting people’s everyday lives even more now, beyond just holiday shopping.

This is due to increased pressure on the global supply chain from a prolonged shortage of workers, difficultly getting raw materials, complicated logistics, and increased demand. Some fear problems may get even worse if cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant explode.

“It’s affecting a lot of things across the board. We’ve seen a 50 bib increase, in other words, a 50 base increase or half a percentage increase of rent costs just this past month, of course, gas prices are up because of the increased labor costs that’s fueling some price increases in the service sector,” said Hooker.

In the past year, consumer prices rose at least 6.8%, a 39-year high.

It’s the highest inflation in a generation, having a big impact on holiday shopping this year and how much people are paying for products.

These problems also continue to create low stock in items many consumers are looking to gift their loved ones.

Economists say their best advice to last-minute buyers is to shop in person.

“Get creative, think outside of the box. Maybe you get that experience, that fishing trip or a massage or something like that instead of a product,” said Hooker.

Also, look into utilizing the ‘ship to store’ feature. Experts say for many retailers, the product will usually come from one of their warehouses and they won’t have to rely on a third-party delivery service.

“Be patient for one. You may not be able to get everything that you’re looking for, product and service wise this holiday season,” said Hooker.

These issues are being felt in the Tampa Bay area and across the nation and will likely last a while longer.

“I just see prices remaining high. As long as we have high fuel costs and high labor costs and other things, that’s going to drive this high cost for things that you and I buy,” said Hooker.

Some commerce experts predict we may not see normal prices until 2023.

“A lot of companies in various supply chains are trying to restructure. They’re looking at new places to manufacture things, trying to bring manufacturing back home to the United States but it’s going to take a little while until those changes go into effect,” said Hooker.