As Christmas selection boxes appear on supermarket aisles across the country, it’s time to look at the holiday season and see what trends are likely to impact Black Friday and Christmas shopping.
There is no doubt we will see Irish shoppers’ use of electronic payments continue. The Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland has seen online and mobile payment methods continue to grow despite the easing of restrictions on physical retail. A new report shows the volume of online and mobile payments grew by 15.3% in the April – June period when compared to the same three months of 2020. While last year was something of an adaptation period this is something we expect to continue into the busy Christmas shopping season.
A longer holiday purchasing period with an even earlier start is also expected with shipping costs skyrocketing and world trade gripped by a major supply chain crunch. These cost increases will also undoubtedly find their way to the consumer and all market trackers are showing higher inflation levels are set to continue.
Some of the biggest toy and furniture retailers have said they are experiencing major delays. Up to 10% of IKEA’s product lines are unavailable in Ireland at present, and Halfords have said it expects the shortages to continue well into the future.
A perfect mix of COVID led manufacturing and distribution disruption, increased costs and Brexit seems to be coming home to roost as we can see from some of the key factors:
- When the pandemic first hit demand collapsed and ships crossing our oceans were half empty, with containers sitting in warehouses holding goods. As a result of the shock, ships weren’t repatriating containers to their origins. That meant that shipping companies “didn’t have the containers they needed” to actually move goods and commodities once global demand began trickling back in the months after the initial outbreaks.
- Production related disruption was also a factor. A freak Texas ice storm that knocked out semiconductor plants in February sent the already-constrained global supply of microchips into a spiral. That’s had a knock-on effect on a vast multitude of industries from tech to car manufacturing.
- Because businesses expected prolonged delays and disruption they increased orders putting more pressure on the supply chains who were already feeling the pressure of trying to manage mass PPE delivery.
- The delays in agreeing a trade agreement between the UK and EU and the changes to the processes has led to delays in getting stock on shelves and a reorganisation of shipping lanes from mainland Europe to Ireland.
Some will argue it’s retailers just trying to further extend the holiday buying season but there does seem to be clear evidence that supply is under pressure. Therefore it might be worth looking at buying early this year in order to avoid disappointment, especially as the cash alternative mightn’t be as en-vogue as it once was!
Source : Irish Banking Federation of Ireland
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