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KPBS Midday Edition

Holiday shopping expected to be impacted by supply chain shortage

Shoppers, Manuel Orellano, middle, with his daughter Marcela, left, and her son Manuel, 6, shop for children's clothing at JCPenney at Glendale Galleria shopping mall in Glendale, Calif, in 2014.
Damian Dovarganes AP
Shoppers, Manuel Orellano, middle, with his daughter Marcela, left, and her son Manuel, 6, shop for children clothing at JCPenney at Glendale Galleria shopping mall in Glendale, Calif, in 2014.

As the holiday season approaches, the Biden administration announced Wednesday, the Port of Los Angeles will soon start operating on a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week basis, in an attempt to start untangling the supply chain slowdown across the country. The Biden administration reached the deal to ease a cargo ship bottleneck at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, in hopes to fix the shortages plaguing the nation's consumer economy. The two facilities are responsible for almost half of all imports into the United States.

San Diego State University marketing and business lecturer, Miro Copic, joined KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday to talk about the reasons for the delay in goods, product shortages, and what people can expect when shopping this holiday season.

RELATED: Aim to ease supply chain bottlenecks with LA port going 24/7

Groceries, electronics, cars, toys, lumber and other consumer goods that rely on overseas manufacturing have been in short supply.

"If there are disruptions from natural disasters, hurricanes, floods, fires, to a pandemic, the supply chain isn't built to take a sustained chunk of time and bounce back, like it did before," Copic said. "The countries that make these products have closed down at varying points. So all of a sudden they're catching up, and all of a sudden they're sending stuff late and in bulk, and there's a whole cascade of effects."

Copic said a tip he has for shoppers this holiday season is to not wait too long to purchase gifts.

"Any kind of toys that are plastic or metal, apparel items, I would absolutely be looking at those right now because the vast majority of apparel items are produced in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh, and all of those places have had issues with COVID and supply disruptions," Copic said. "Consumer electronics, small appliances, and even refrigerators and larger appliances because they contain microchips are also affected."

Copic said one thing that he doesn't expect to be in short supply is jewelry. "I would certainly recommend, across everything except jewelry, to at least browse and if you see it and it's something you really want, I strongly recommend that you get it," Copic said.

Copic said the supply chain issues should get better if COVID cases don't start to rise again. "All of this will kind of play through if, and this is the big if, if this whole Delta variant and COVID really does not bounce back for a third or fourth or fifth time. If we get to a manageable level, all those supply chain issues should resolve themselves over the next three or four months," Copic said.