We know what you’re thinking. “It’s July! Why am I already hearing about the holidays? I haven’t even gone on my summer vacation yet, let alone drunk a pumpkin-spiced latte.” While we may agree that it’s a little early to deck the halls and put on a cozy sweater, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start preparing for the holiday season.

The world continues to be a topsy-turvy place, and that uncertainty is affecting stores’ abilities to stock their shelves both now and in the coming months, which means you’ll want to get ahead of the game by starting your holiday shopping today. If you’re still not convinced, let us explain.

Empty Shelves

The pandemic isn’t over and communities around the globe, including some in our own backyard, are seeing waves of new cases hurting families and disrupting lives.

Those disruptions ripple outward in all areas, including the supply chain. Simply put, the usual process that takes an item from where it’s produced to a store shelf or your doorstep, isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. What that means for you is empty shelves and extended backorders.

To save yourself from those headaches, start shopping today! You can order items now that will be in stock by the fall or winter. If you wait, you’re more likely to find yourself in an understaffed store with overworked employees who can’t get you what you need.

Red Night LightAnd if you prefer to do your shopping online, keep in mind that the top 100 online retailers account for more than 74% of all e-commerce growth, according to Clutch. So when those big retailers sell out, you may have better luck tracking down unique gifts like these night lights by purchasing directly from the manufacturer, like Eangee Home Design.

High Demand, Higher Prices

If you find yourself anticipating larger holiday gatherings this year, you’re not alone. With vaccinations now readily available, the current resurgence of in-person gatherings is expected to continue throughout the year. With that growth, you’ll see more people shopping for more gifts for their loved ones. That translates to higher demand, and higher prices.

Cocoa Leaf Cylinder Table LampIn the past, lots of folks were gifting “experiences” like concert tickets and other forms of entertainment. The pandemic has refocused shoppers on gift-giving basics and home goods, which means more shopping in stores and online for tangible items like the ones in our gift-giving guide.

On top of that, people ready to host again are likely to shop for new décor to make their home even more inviting than before. If you’re among those excited to open your doors, consider warming up your space with a new conversation-starter like the Cocoa Leaf Cylinder Table Lamp.

The Waiting Game

Higher prices may leave you hoping for big Black Friday sales, but low inventory and high demand means more unpredictable pricing. Instead of waiting around and hoping for great deals on a specific day, focus on the basics like free delivery (available year-round from Eangee).

Free delivery can take the sting out of higher prices, but at most retailers it means waiting longer for your packages to arrive. With ecommerce projected to account for nearly 19% of all holiday season sales according to eMarketer, you may find the turnaround times too slow for your needs.

With online sales increasing and delivery staff numbers stagnating, waits will only get longer and more unpredictable. Even the worst procrastinator may find that the best way to avoid these frustrations is to order now. Things may not feel “normal,” but it helps during times of uncertainty to do the things you can (like shop early), so you can focus on the things that really matter, like coming together with loved ones.

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