Oracle: Holiday shoppers on edge over out-of-stocks, delivery delays

Marianne Wilson
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Shoppers’ concerns over supply chain and delivery delays is causing them to start their holiday shopping extra early and influencing what and how they buy.

Fifty-two percent of Americans have already started holiday shopping or plan to shop earlier than usual, according to Oracle Retail consumer research. Of the respondents, 20% plan to order more gifts in case some are delayed or canceled, with the number jumping to 44% for millennials.

Others are taking an easier path. Thirty-four percent of people (especially Baby Boomers, at 58%) said they will buy more gift cards this year. Fifty-five percent said they are very likely or might use an on-demand service like DoorDash to order last-minute gifts.

Supply chain woes
Consumers are worried they will be left holding an empty box as products may not be available or will take too long to arrive. Specifically, 28% of respondents are anxious that the products they want will be more expensive due to the scarcity, and 27%  are worried desired products won't be available.

Other findings from the Oracle research are below.

• Twenty-two percent of respondents won't wait for a retailer to restock before they go somewhere else

• Seventy-two percent will have gifts delivered to their home (up from 64% in 2020), but 22% are worried shipping times won't meet their expectations and will be late – if they arrive at all.

• To ease their concerns, 65% say granular tracking of delivery status is very important. 

• Thirty-six percent say fast delivery determines whom they order from.

• Nine percent expect same-day delivery, 28% expect one- to two-day delivery, and 41% expect three- to five-day delivery. 

• Thirty-eight percent worry gifts will arrive later than anticipated and 28% are concerned gifts won't arrive at all.

• Eighteen percent are willing to pay more to ensure faster or guaranteed delivery. 

"As we see in the news, the supply chain challenges are a global reality,” said Mike Webster, senior VP and general manager, Oracle Retail. "Accountability will be the name of the game. Retailers must have clear visibility into their inventory, a realistic timeline for the fulfillment, and a plan to communicate clearly throughout the order and delivery processes.”

[Read More: Walmart acts to minimize supply chain disruption for the holidays]

The survey polled 5,728 global consumers, including 512 in the United States, in September 2021. The Untold Insights survey asked consumers about their pandemic shopping habits and plans for holiday shopping. For more on holiday shopping trends, click here.