In the wake of the clocks going back last Sunday, Christmas shopping ads soon appeared… but with shipping slowdowns, shortages, and supply chain issues, is Christmas set to look a little different (again!) this year?

9 in 10 parents have seen the news coverage about a possible shortage of products such as food, toys, and games in the run-up to Christmas (1). So, it’s no surprise that demand has been extremely high in October for some small toy brands (2). 

So how serious is the toy shortage and does it mean that Santa may be on strike this Christmas?

Traders from The Entertainer to Le Toy Van admit that demand could very easily outpace supply because of the national shortage of high-quality goods (2). Popular gifts such as Barbie Dolls, LOL surprise, and Paw Patrol are amongst the favourite toys predicted to run out quickly (3). However, it’s not just toys that are going to be hard to find! There may be tears at the dinner table as well come 25 December as Turkeys are in a shorter supply than usual (4).

Black Friday could be a little strange this year

As a result of the negativity in the media, half of parents admit that their plans to shop for Christmas presents this year have been affected by the recent coverage of product shortages (1). It comes as no surprise that retailers are encouraging shoppers to buy early. With current supply chain issues and the prospect of consumers making this Christmas one to remember after a difficult couple of years, it makes sense to drive sales early to stress that waiting until black Friday is a high-risk strategy. 

Over two-thirds of parents agree that the media coverage will affect when they purchase presents for their children (1). About a third of parents will start shopping for Christmas gifts earlier than usual in order to avoid empty sacks under the tree, and nearly 4 in 10 have already started purchasing gifts (1).

Light at the end of the tunnel…

The time may be right to turn around and focus on all the great toys that are in stock and our insights suggest parents are taking the same approach. A third of parents would choose a similar product from another brand if they couldn’t obtain the gifts, they previously planned to purchase (1) with only 1 in 10 parents expecting to wait it out to see if a product they initially intended to purchase comes back in stock before Christmas (1).

In an attempt to get better deals, more than one-third of parents say headlines will motivate them to do more shopping online this year (1). Clothes and shoes are the most popular products parents will be buying for their kids (48%), followed by books (42%) and video games (41%). In contrast, parents are least interested in buying their kids vehicles (22%), collectibles (18%), and outdoor activities (17%).

As we navigate our way through the rest of the year, brands need to know that inspiring the gifting market sooner rather than later to keep top of mind for Christmas is key. With fewer consumers being brand loyal this Christmas, there is opportunity to market toys that are not as popular. This will be imperative for brands to understand and respond to across all communication channels.


  • Overnight Parent Poll October 2021

(2) Christmas toys: Shops admit demand could outstrip supply – so keep your festive cool to help avoid shortages (

(3) Christmas shortages: Santa will come, vows Dowden, as toy shops warn of empty shelves | News | The Times


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