Toy shortage encourages early holiday shopping

As The Canadian Toy Association warns of a looming toy shortage, some are not wasting any time getting a head start on holiday shopping this year.

"Arguably 60 to 70 per cent of all toy sales happen in the months of November and December, meaning that is going to be the main category where you are going to see the biggest effect over the next three months," said Andrew Wagar with the Canadian Toy Association.

The Canadian Toy Association encourages consumers to shop earlier for toys this season, especially hot ticket items.

Wagar says the issues are being felt worldwide and are resulting in shortages at retail stores.

"Over the course of the pandemic, you had a combination of factory shutdowns, retail shutdowns, manufacturing shutdowns and shipping shutdowns, while at the same time consumers were able to shop online," said Wagar. "You had a glut of demand that was met with limited supply. As a result, there is a backlog of goods that still need to be manufactured and shipped overseas."

He added a long list of problems, including rising container costs, a limited supply of cargo ships to ship goods, and raw materials like plastics.

"It's not one single issue; it's a lot of different issues and what it's going to mean is that some products like in the children's toy sector are going to sell out faster than others and will be replenished slower than others," Wagar said.

Mary Karen Barker isn't wasting any time. She's checking off the names on her holiday shopping list, finally finding a popular toy for her grandson.

"When I got the email today, I looked it up, and they said they had one in stock, and I just took it off the shelf," Barker said. "I've been calling around, and people are saying they don't know when the shipments are coming in either across the border or whatever, but definitely supply is limited."

It's something Mastermind Toys said it's been preparing for to help people avoid the mad dash of the holiday rush.

"We placed orders early, we placed larger orders than usual, and we are ready to go," said Mastermind Toys district manager Renee Scully.

With some of the best supply on the shelves right now, it could be your best bet to avoid that holiday backlog.

"Things are slower. They are coming in, but they are coming in a little bit slower," Scully said.