Supply-chain disruptions weigh as consumers see surge in out-of-stock messages

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Shoppers drawn in by early holiday deals are facing a deluge of out-of-stock messages due to the ongoing supply chain disruptions, according to new data. 

In October, consumers hit the ground running for holiday shopping, spending more than $72.4 billion in online purchases, an 8% increase from a year ago, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. 

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However, filling those carts has been harder than ever before, with out-of-stock messages surging 250% in October 2021 compared to January 2020, according to Adobe. In fact, out-of-stock messages surged 325% when compared to holiday shopping in October 2019.

Overall, there were over 2 billion out-of-stock messages online over the course of October alone, according to Adobe.

Woman shopping online.  ( iStock photo / iStock)

The electrics category had the "highest out-of-stock levels" according to Adobe, which tracked 18 categories. 

The categories with the next highest out-of-stock levels were jewelry, apparel, home and garden, and pet products, according to the data. 

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The data proves that "consumers are beginning to understand the real impact of the supply chain challenges," according to Adobe Digital Insights director Taylor Schreiner. 

As a result, "some have begun to adjust their holiday strategy accordingly, with parents shopping for toys earlier and some settling for gift cards this season," he said. 

Schreiner warned that consumers who haven't yet started shopping "will need to be prepared to be flexible." 

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