More than Half of Americans Have Experienced a Shortage

How long until we're back to normal? Firm expectations are getting worse. Then again, vendor lead times, though extreme, are beginning to fall.

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This piece is part of my series on shortages. Here are the previous issues, and if you’d like to report a shortage, you can do so here.

1) Counterfeit Capitalism: Why a Monopolized Economy Leads to Inflation and Shortages

2) ShortageWatch: “Sorry. No French Fries with any order. We have no potatoes.”

3) The Corrupt System Behind Covid Medical Shortages

As part of my series on shortages, I’m going to start throwing in data on consumer experiences and business expectations as I find it. To that end, here’s some interesting marketing data on the prevalence of shortages and supply shocks.

  • Over half (54%) of Americans have experienced stock/supply/shipping issues related to COVID-19

  • Supply chain issues are persisting: 47% of people have purchased items that were not their first choice, because their desired item was out of stock or unavailable due to the pandemic

Also, from the Daily Shot, here are three interesting charts. First, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Texas Retail Outlook, businesses experiencing supply chain delays have increased their estimates on shortages dramatically. In June, two thirds of firms estimated their supply chains would return to normal within six months. This month, 72.3% of firms think it’ll take more than six months, with fully one third of them saying it’ll be more than a year.

The second chart shows that container shipping rates have skyrocketed. For some reason, U.S.-linked shipping rates have gone up far more than non-U.S.-linked routes. It’s probably that our regulators are weaker, and we no longer have much of a domestic shipping industry, so it’s easy to price-gouge.

Finally, though vendor lead time is extreme, it’s starting to come down. There’s a lot of new business investment happening, with 20 semiconductor factories coming online this year alone, and 20 more next year.