It might be early October, but the holiday shopping season is already upon us.
Amazon on Monday announced a slew of Black Friday deals across multiple categories on its site, including fashion, home, beauty, toys, electronics, and Amazon Devices. The move allows shoppers to place their orders for the holidays well in advance, and confirms predictions that this year’s holiday shopping season will start earlier than usual.
“Customers can confidently shop early knowing they are receiving incredible deals starting today, letting them get a head start on their holiday to-do lists so they can truly enjoy the holiday season,” said Dave Clark, CEO of worldwide consumer at Amazon, in a statement.
Experts predicted that global supply chain slowdowns, including shipping delays, port congestion, and factory shutdowns, would encourage shoppers to complete their seasonal purchases well in advance of the holidays in order to secure product in time.
According to KPMG’s consumer pulse survey for the holiday season of 2021, more than 50% of 1,000 respondents expressed concern about shortages in stores and shipping delays. 61% said they planned to start shopping for the holidays in October to prepare for out-of-stocks. Overall, respondents said they plan to increase their holiday spending budgets by 5% compared to last year.
Now that Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, has launched its Black Friday deals, the shopping season has officially commenced — in the first week of October. Target recently announced that it would kick off its annual “Deal Days” promotion, a pre-holiday sales event occurring online and in stores between Oct. 10 and 12. Walmart has yet to announce its Black Friday deals, but the retailer said it would hire 150,000 new U.S. workers to staff stores for the holidays.
This early start could further impact the availability of inventory later on around Black Friday. Since demand outweighs supply, it is not a guarantee that inventory will be in a strong position, come late November.
According to Vic Drabicky, founder and CEO of consultancy January Digital, retailers that haven’t already secured their inventory for the holiday season will inevitably face shortages. He advised retailers to be as proactive and honest as possible about the shortages via marketing, customer service, and store associates.
“I think consumers are aware of that as an overarching issue,” Drabicky said of the supply chain slowdowns. “So for brands, your best bet is to under-promise and over-deliver. Over communicate every chance you get and make sure you set the proper expectations.”