With supply chain bottlenecks leading to empty store shelves and a longer period of inflation than expected, experts are warning consumers that they may want to get a head start on their holiday shopping if they don’t want to risk missing out on some of the items they wish to purchase.

Supply shortages seem to be increasing daily, and as a result, experts fear that increased spending as the holidays approach will lead to completely empty shelves by the time the typical holiday shopping season begins in November, CNBC reports. While NPD Group found that 51% of respondents to their surveys intend to start shopping before Thanksgiving this year, that’s only a slight uptick from one year prior, which could lead to more frustration for consumers who choose to wait.

“As long as [their orders] arrive before Christmas consumers say they are fine with the delays,” Katie Thomas, lead of the Kearny Consumer Institute, told CNBC about consumers' holiday shopping attitudes. However, she warned that those same customers who aren’t overly concerned about the inventory of products and hot gifts now are “going to be mad come December.”

Experts warn that while shoppers may be eager to wait for Black Friday and later in the season for the good deals they usually find at that point in time, it might be better to take advantage of earlier offerings on Amazon and at retailers like Target now, because even if prices do go down later, “...the added layer of inventory concerns [are] motivating many shoppers to grab what they want when they see it, instead of waiting for better deals later in the season,” Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD, said.

Supply chain issues ahead of the holiday season have become a focus of the Biden administration, which wants to fix the problems at backed-up ports, but even with more focus on relieving that pressure, experts warn that the issues are going to be felt for a while.

“There’s no political intervention that’s going to get this done, and there may not be a human intervention that gets this done because this issue is now going to last well into next year,” Steve Pasierb, president and chief executive of the Toy Association, told Politico.

The warnings come as retailers start rolling out deals earlier than ever and explore more ways to bring shoppers into stores and onto their websites. From more offerings and early deals and savings events to new “buy now, pay later” options, retailers seem ready to address what is predicted to be a very lucrative holiday shopping season.

Most analysts are still fairly upbeat on the holiday shopping season in the US this year despite somewhat higher recession fears Most analysts are still fairly upbeat on the holiday shopping season in the US this year despite somewhat higher recession fears Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / MICHAEL NAGLE