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Consumers fear supply-chain snags will put damper on the holidays

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American consumers are worried that supply-chain woes will hinder their holiday shopping this year, according to a new survey from software maker Oracle. Some 28% worry about more expensive products, while almost as many fret that they’ll struggle to find the gifts they’re looking for, the questionnaire found. 

The poll reflects a “general level of anxiety” about product shortages Mike Webster, general manager for Oracle Retail, told CBS MoneyWatch. “It’s the first holiday season where we’ve had such findings in a very, very long time,” he said. “I think there’s a point of view that maybe Santa’s sleigh will be on delay this year.”

More than half of shoppers are already looking for presents or plan to shop early, the survey found.  It’s no wonder: Retailers from Walmart to Best Buy, Target and Amazon are already plugging bargains weeks earlier than the traditional start of Black Friday sales in late November.

That also may explain why almost a third of shoppers said they’ll be outraged if deliveries are delayed, with a quarter surveyed worried gifts won’t arrive at all. 

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“We’re seeing people shop earlier, and again that’s 100% driven by their concerns over the supply chain,” Webster said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed shopping habits. Some 72% plan to have gifts delivered, up from 64% last year before coronavirus vaccines were available and quarantines were still widespread. That compares to 59% who planned to order online and get gifts delivered in 2019, showed the survey, which polled roughly 5,000 consumers worldwide.

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More than half of last-minute shoppers plan to use a shopping and delivery service like DoorDash to get last-minute gifts, while gift cards are also increasingly popular, Webster said. Roughly 60% of people over age 55 indicated a preference for gift cards over other presents.

“Last year about a quarter of the respondents indicated that they would be buying gift cards. This year it’s up over a third,” Webster said.

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