What a difference a year makes.At this time last year, consumers were hesitant to spend on much besides essentials and products that would make their life at home more comfortable. They were fearful about going into stores, many of which were temporarily closed due to the pandemic anyway, worried about how COVID-19 would affect their family’s health and finances, and unsure whether and when the economy would rebound.
Meanwhile, retailers and brands were nervously looking ahead to the holidays and worrying about the glut of inventory they were left holding following months of sluggish sales due to the pandemic.
This year, the script has flipped, with consumers ready to spend but retailers and brands struggling to ensure they’ll have enough inventory to meet holiday demand. Companies face continuing supply chain disruptions, labor shortages in warehouses, and shipping constraints that are driving container freight prices four to 10 times higher than normal.