Your Favorite Item Out of Stock? Get Used to It

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Frustrated woman looking at tablet

valentinrussanov/Getty Images

For that hard-to-buy-for person, you finally find the perfect item after searching hours online. You go to add it to your shopping cart, but it’s out of stock. 

Shoppers—even online shoppers expecting a better selection on the Internet—are finding more items aren’t available this year amid massive supply chain disruptions. In August, the volume of out-of-stock messages on e-commerce sites was triple what it was in February 2020, before the pandemic started, according to Adobe Analytics data recently released in a report on holiday shopping and shown below.

“As consumer demand and shipping networks get into the holiday, this problem is only going to  get worse,” Adobe said in its report, noting the hardest-to-find items so far include apparel, sporting goods, products for babies and toddlers, and electronics.

Supply chains have been snarled by fallout from the pandemic, particularly shortages of labor and parts. President Joe Biden recently said the Port of Los Angeles had agreed to operate around the clock, and giant retailers like Walmart and Home Depot and shippers like FedEx and UPS will increase their hours to help ease the logjam.

Fears of delayed shipping and out-of-stock items are prompting more people to shop early this year. Sixty-eight percent of people polled in a Deloitte survey said they planned to shop before Thanksgiving—up from 61% last year—because they were worried they wouldn’t be able to get the items they wanted. Meanwhile, 75% overall said they were concerned about electronics, accessories, toys, and hobby items being unavailable.

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  1. Adobe Digital Insights. “Adobe Holiday Shopping Forecast.” Page 10.

  2. Deloitte Insights. “2021 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey Holiday Shopping: Establishing The Next Normal.”

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