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Product shortages one reason you should start your holiday shopping now

Shopping for the holidays right now might seem too early for some, but major issues in the supply chain are expected to impact package deliveries and store shelves.

TAMPA, Fla. — It's exactly 100 days until Christmas! Believe it or not, it's time to start thinking about shopping for the holidays. 

This holiday season is going to be all about budgeting, both your money and your time. Major issues in the supply chain are causing prices to go up and delays in getting hot products.  

The pandemic and crazy weather have created the perfect storm of problems and delays that you should plan for now. It all has to do with something called the supply chain. 

Robert Hooker is an Associate Professor of supply chain management at USF.

"The supply chain is a network of companies that are responsible for everything from sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, shipping products to where they need to go and even marketing products and services. So it's a dynamic system of companies," he says.

In other words, all those products in stores and online don't just magically appear there. 

It takes many different types of companies all over the world just to get that hot holiday toy under your tree. 

"So there's a confluence of factors that are at play right now that we hope won't turn this into the holiday grinch that derails the holiday shopping season," Hooker said.

Think of it as a row of dominoes. 

The pandemic has caused a shortage of workers to manufacture products, weather issues have slowed down the creation of certain materials and caused backups at ports around the world, there's a shortage of shipping containers and even the trucking industry is in need of more people to get these items to the stores and warehouses. 

And Hooker says this problem isn't going away anytime soon. 

"Everything that we do, everything that we buy, the services that we use, there's a supply chain behind all of that. And that's what we're seeing being impacted right now," Hooker said.

So expect to pay more for certain hot items like electronics, toys, even name-brand sneakers. Just about every product you can think of has some sort of supply chain issue, so it would be a good idea to go ahead and start working on those holiday gift lists and monitoring the prices of big-ticket items because they are likely to keep going up. 

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