Parents, Here’s What You Need to Know About the Major Toy Shortage This Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season may look very different this year.

By: Amanda Mushro
Cute teddy bear holding a gift box.

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Cute teddy bear holding a gift box.

Photo by: Thanyathep Eakphaitoon

Thanyathep Eakphaitoon

Fall has just begun, but experts are saying now is the time to get a jump on your holiday shopping. Just like we’ve seen shortages on toilet paper and used cars, toys can be added to the list of items that may be harder to find because of the pandemic. So, instead of making your list and checking it twice, you may need to hit up twice as many stores to get your holiday shopping done.

A new survey from professional services firm KPMG reveals there may be a major shortage of toys for the 2021 holiday season. According to the survey of 114 retail executives, 82% said they are somewhat or very concerned about inventory shortages thanks to a global supply chain crisis.

Two leaders in the toy industry told CNN Business that a number of pandemic-related issues are leading to the toy shortage. Citing global shipping issues, shortages on products needed to make the toys, and labor shortages as three major factors.

"There is going to be a major shortage of toy products this year," MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian, the toy company that makes LOL! Dolls, told CNN Business. "The demand is going to be there. What is not going to be there is the product to fill the demand."

From big box stores to smaller independent toy stores, expect to see empty toy shelves — and the products that will be available may have a higher price tag. Toy industry experts say consumers can expect a 5-10% increase on toy prices.

So, with less inventory to choose from and higher prices, what should parents do this holiday season?

  • Experts agree you’ll need to shop early — meaning, start now. Even though your kids probably haven’t started their holiday wish list, the hot toys may not be available in December.
  • If you can’t find an item where you typically shop, have it shipped to your home or to your local store to avoid an extra cost.
  • You may need to expand your shopping to a variety of stores to find what you need.
  • Shop local when you can and take advantage of curbside pickup and online shopping to save time.
  • When it comes to saving money, you’ll want to keep an eye on retailers' social media to find sales and discounts.
  • However, if you find the "must-have" toy of the holiday season and it’s the one your child wants, purchase it now.
  • If you are a last-minute shopper or someone who always uses two-day shipping, experts say that is not a good plan this holiday season. Instead, give yourself plenty of shipping time for toys to arrive so that you don’t have disappointed little ones during the holidays.

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