Christmas commercials usually appear on television and online immediately after All Saints Day. This year, talk of Christmas shopping has arrived even earlier, with retailers saying Santa may not be able to make it like he usually does.
The reason is prosaic: the global microchip and materials crisis has impacted many industrial sectors and worldwide transport. In effect, some products have become scarce goods. Slovak retailers selling offline and online are reporting problems, as the producers. Books, another popular Christmas gift, require no chips but pre-Christmas releases may face problems due to a lack of paper.
“This year’s Christmas season will not be so much about discounts but about the availability of some types of goods,” Ondřej Hnát, business director for Alza online retailer, told The Slovak Spectator. “The lack of semi-conductors, problems with transport from China and the disrupted supplier chain have led to a shortage of certain products, and that’s why it's good not to leave Christmas shopping to the very last moment.”
Market watchers and online shops agree that the offer of some products will not be as wide as in previous years, and some products may be unavailable. Price hikes should not come as a surprise. Experts mainly mention electronics, but publishers may also struggle to publish as many book titles as originally planned.
Cheap laptops may be not available
The shortage of chips and their high prices limit the offer of electronics on the consumers’ market, explains Jana Glasová, analyst of 365 bank. The key producers of chips and semiconductors that are especially concentrated in Asian countries still cannot fully satisfy orders around the world, resulting in a lack of electronics on the market and growing prices.