The pandemic-driven supply chain crisis, coupled with growing generational interest in sustainable and ethical sourcing, is energizing the movement to on-shore the ingredients in and production of consumer goods. The signs are popping up everywhere, presenting a whole new set of challenges for retailers trying to research what consumers want and how much they’ll pay for it.
Retailers are discovering the downside of “fast fashion” and cheap overseas workrooms and factories as scarce containers, clogged ports, and even a dearth of domestic truck drivers threaten to undo what economists say ought to be a banner holiday season. The recent pandemic shutdown in Vietnam, a major apparel supplier, is just the latest development that is upending the plans of many retailers. From electronics to lipstick, the industry is in a squeeze between choked supply lines and growing consumer sensitivity about where and how products are sourced.
Chris Butler, CEO of National Tree Company, recently told Retail Dive that the decorations industry faces a "perfect storm for empty shelves" for the coming holiday season. According to Butler, his firm’s customer research finds 80 percent of surveyed consumers expect more parties and decorations this year compared to 2020. But fires and drought have wreaked havoc with the supply of natural live-tree Christmas trees, and logistic snafus are interfering with the import of artificial trees.
The supply chain crisis has poked a hole in the high expectations of brands like Nike, which recently cut its sales forecast for the year due to the closure of factories in Vietnam.