FOX13 INVESTIGATES: Why Christmas shopping is looking a bit more difficult this year?

NATIONAL — The Christmas season this year is going to be the toughest time any of us have experienced in at least two generations when it comes to supply shortages.

This is the assessment from our consumer advisor, Clark Howard.

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We recently talked with Howard about which consumer items will be the hardest to acquire, why that will so and how long he thinks the supply shortage will last.

Even if mom and dad have the money to buy whatever the kids want or if they are first in line at the cashier after a Thanksgiving sale, it may not matter this year.

What America and the world are seeing right now is about more than not being able to get a desired gift for Christmas.

Why the shortage?

Howard said there are many factors at play other than demand.

“Some of that predate COVID and others that have been magnified by COVID,” Howard said. “Let’s start with where things are made. So many other things that we have are made partially or completely in Asia and there are a lot of countries in Asia that have had massive deadly outbreaks of COVID, and they don’t have vaccines.”

There are three items Howard is certain if you don’t have now, you may not get them for Christmas.

“Number one is a car,” he said. “Any vehicle that unless you’re willing to pay a kazillion dollars to buy a new vehicle, you need to pass for now.”

Does it matter if the car is luxury or used?

“Makes no difference,” he continued. “In particular, here’s the crazy thing: the more affordable the vehicle, the harder it’s going to be to find, because if I’m a manufacturer, I’m a dealer, with the shortages going on, I want the vehicles I can make the most profit from every unit from, so the luxury vehicles, the really, really expensive luxury vehicles are going to be the most available.”

The second on the list is electronics of various types.

“Apple just reported it in the financial markets that they are not going to be able to provide the new iPhone 13 in anywhere near the numbers they had intended,” Howard said. “Somebody can go to a store that shows something available for an electronics item and by the time they park and you go inside, they are out.”

The last thing is a big consumer item: furniture.

“A lot of the pieces come from overseas, so if they can’t get the components, they need to put that furniture together, even though they’re building it in North Carolina, they still can’t finish it and part of this is a COVID effect,” he said. “And be prepared to wait until way after this Christmas and for some items, next Christmas as well.”

“A lot of these are going to take a good year or two to work out. I mean we’re looking at a lot of items that aren’t going to be back in normal availability until 2023,” Howard stated. “We’ve gotten spoiled having anything we want everything we want, whenever we want it. So it’s like we’ve dialed back the clock, at least for now.”

Howard said the more flexible you can be in a time of shortage, the better off your wallet will be and your mental well-being.