The holiday shopping season is well under way. After encouraging shoppers for years to start early, it appears they are taking that advice this year, and have already begun searching for must-have items. Few are waiting for Black Friday or holiday sales to get started.
And that’s all due to supply shortages across the board.
Shoppers are acutely aware of supply-chain glitches due to a chip shortage that has impacted the availability of consumer goods for months. A host of “domino effects” have impacted port operations and created cargo bottlenecks and delivery to points of sale. This “perfect storm” has put a damper on the ability to satisfy the hyper-demand that 18 pandemic months have generated among consumers.
A series of converging trends — the onset of the holiday shopping season coupled with the enduring impact of the pandemic and the continuing hybrid home work/home school model — are the foreseeable challenges.
But dealers are working hard to maintain inventory and availability of desired products to meet the demand that has evolved during the home-centered behaviors driven by the pandemic — namely the demand for larger, smarter TVs by cord-cutters and streaming content enthusiasts, more challenging gaming systems, better audio, and additional home control and security solutions.
For our part, New Age Electronics is working diligently with our vendor partners to get goods as quickly as possible to retailers that are embracing an omni-channel strategy in order to get products to consumers however they can: online, curbside and in-store.
But while hardware acquisition is still a real challenge, retailers have an opportunity to take advantage of one gift category for the holidays that is not hardware-focused or impacted by supply shortages and shipping logistics – that is, downloadable content such as video, audio, gaming and health/fitness subscriptions.
In addition, families are recognizing that the hybrid work and school model will be around for some time, so they’re looking to upgrade notebooks and PCs for Windows 11. Home control products such as video doorbells also remain popular, as we now live in a connected world. And employers are constantly evaluating how they do business today, having learned a lot over the past 18 months. As they, too, embrace a hybrid model, they need to equip their employees with technology to move seamlessly between working from home and the office.
While this unique time in retail presents dealers with significant challenges, it also creates an opportunity to “reset” their businesses to offer better, more seamless customer experiences and interactions. They can implement in-store and online improvements they may have placed on the back burner while scrambling to meet customer demand for products early in the pandemic when inventory was more plentiful.
What’s more, retailers could be seeing stronger, more robust post-holiday spending than in the past. That’s due to expected pent-up demand from consumers seeking products they couldn’t readily get due to supply chain shortages during this holiday season. As product availability improves, expect strong post-holiday spending to extend well beyond the first half of 2022. Shoppers will be looking for the items they missed out on for the holiday, and for those things that make life easier during the cold winter months.
At New Age Electronics, we remain committed to supporting the consumer electronics industry — a business that has always operated on razor-thin margins and is now dealing with product lag times and inflationary pressures that are driving up costs. Fortunately, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
We are working closely with the vendor community and our retail partners to assemble realistic supply and demand forecasts, streamline logistics and create compelling shopping experiences across all channels both during this holiday shopping season and beyond.
Sponsored by New Age Electronics
Fred Towns is President of New Age Electronics, responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction and identifying new growth opportunities. Serving in this capacity since 2011, Towns oversees the organization’s business development, marketing, and customer service. With more than 35 years of experience in the consumer technology industry, Towns previously held the position of Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Panasonic Consumer Electronics Corp. He also sits on CTA’s Executive Board, an advisory committee that helps set public policy positions and priorities for the association, and serves as industry chair of the Anti-Defamation League’s National Consumer Technology division.