(NEXSTAR) — You’ve probably heard the phrase “supply chain issues” many times. It’s because the global economy is really confused right now. There are thousands of shipping containers waiting to be unloaded at ports. COVID-19 continues to infect people around the world, shutting down factories and other workplaces.
The ripple effects are making goods more expensive and scarcer – and toys are no exception.
“These supply chain issues are going to affect the toy industry really hard,” said Jordan Hembrough, toy expert and host of the show “Toy Hunter.” “It could not come at a worse time.”
Toymakers are feverishly trying to find containers to ship their goods while searching for new alternative routes and ports. If they can find space on planes, some are choosing to fly in the toys instead of relying on ships.
“Hasbro has said they’re starting to feel it. Even Lego is feeling supply chain issues,” Hembrough said.
Some companies are also resigning to the harsh realities that they can’t make up for delays and are leaving behind some of the holiday toys, particularly bulkier ones, in factories in China.
Those larger items that are harder to transport could be the most scarce, as well as pretty much everything new to the market this year, said Hembrough.
“That stuff is going to be very tough to find because we’re already starting to see early buying. The Christmas shopping season has already begun. People aren’t panic buying, but they’re precautionary buying because they’re expecting shortages.”
That means if your kid has his or her heart set on the latest and greatest Lego set or L.O.L. doll, you should lock it down now.
“The stock that is in stores right now is being sold,” Hembrough said. “The supply chain is not coming back to fulfill what is being sold.”
But if your kid is OK with something from last year – or probably won’t notice – older models will be easier to find.
“You might find stock on the shelves that might be a little bit dated, but something under the tree is better than nothing under the tree,” said Hembrough.
If you start to see empty shelves at big box stores, you may want to turn to mom and pop toy stores for more options. They may have stock leftover from the 2020 holiday season that they weren’t able to sell because there was such a big shift to online shopping during the peak pandemic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.