Get ready for fewer – and pricier – toys on shelves this holiday season

A family shops for toys in a department store.
A family shops for toys in a department store. bogdankosanovic/Getty Images
  • Toymakers say parents should brace for fewer and more expensive toys this holiday season.
  • Crippling shipping delays, troubles sourcing materials, and labor shortages are hamstringing toy companies.
  • Frenzied holiday demand for toys will push prices even higher.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As the holiday season approaches, toymakers are worried about a looming toy shortage that could threaten to deplete store shelves and increase prices of the season’s most popular toys, Retail Dive reported.

While many retailers are struggling to navigate shipping delays, labor shortages, and difficulty sourcing materials, toymakers will also have to contend with a burst of demand for toys during the holiday season, and toymakers are encouraging parents to buy presents early for kids.

“There is going to be a major shortage of toy products this year,” Isaac Larian, the CEO of toy company MGA Entertainment, told CNN. “The demand is going to be there. What is not going to be there is the product to fill the demand.”

Record numbers of cargo ships stuck at ports and shortages of longshore workers and truck drivers are creating delays across the industry as products stay stranded at ports for weeks on end, according to Retail Dive.

Delays are also causing price increases, CNN reported, as the costs of a cargo container has increased seven-fold since last year and increasing labor and material costs lead to higher toy prices online and in stores.

On top of shipping issues, Retail Dive reported that 60% of manufacturers have resin shortages, a critical component for making the most in-demand plastic toys.

To circumvent imminent shortages and rising prices for toys, parents can try hitting shops early for holiday gifts – especially for more popular toys – try creating handmade or DIY gifts instead of gifting store-bought presents, sending virtual gifts like e-cards, and buying from local shops.

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