Container ships wait off the coast of the congested Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Long Beach, California

Container ships wait off the coast of the congested Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Long Beach, California, U.S., October 1, 2021. REUTERS/ Alan Devall

Will Port Congestion Cancel Christmas This Year?

Reuters
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October 2, 2021

By Arriana McLymore (Reuters) Santa’s sleigh is coming out of its garage a little earlier this year.

Target, Pottery Barn, Ulta Beauty, Gap, and PacSun are among retailers promoting holiday decor and gifts as early as mid-September amid a global supply-chain logjam that threatens to limit the availability of some merchandise later during the holiday season.

Related News: Maersk Says Port Congestion and Supply Chain Bottlenecks to Persist Through Year-End

Americans are expected to spend about $1.3 trillion this holiday season, a 7% to 9% increase over last year, according to Deloitte. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, generally marks the start of the season in the United States, although major retailers typically start advertising holiday merchandise in early November.

This year, they face shipping snarls and other logistics challenges that could leave them unable to meet consumer demand during the fourth quarter if people wait until the last minute to make gift purchases. Target is launching holiday promotions between Oct. 10 and 12, compared to Oct. 13 last year.

“We think advertisers will start advertising very soon to persuade consumers” to buy Christmas gifts and merchandise, said Jed Meyer, senior vice president media domain leader at data analytics firm Kantar.

“That’s compounded by the fact that there’s a lot of anticipation that there may be delivery delays from online shopping, especially … close to the holidays.”

Pottery Barn’s Instagram posts as of Sept. 17 feature $250 Christmas wreaths. It is pushing out holiday messages several days earlier than in 2020, and more than a month earlier than in 2019. The company was unavailable to comment on the timing of its holiday advertising.

Gap is previewing its gift guides in October in hopes of prodding shoppers to begin making purchases before the holiday gift-giving scramble.

“With the pandemic’s continued and evolving impact on retail, we’re giving customers the ability to start their holiday shopping early to help ease the holiday rush,” said Mary Alderete, global head of Gap marketing.

PacSun, which began planning for the holidays about four weeks earlier this year, will hold its pre-holiday digital campaign events in mid-October, similar to its timing in 2020, President Brieane Olson said.

(Reporting by Arriana McLymore, Editing by Nick Zieminski, Reuters)

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