Businesses and consumers alike are feeling the supply chain blues as many contend with product shortages. New survey results find that two-thirds of Americans have experienced out-of-stock items or limited supplies at least once when trying to make a purchase in the past month (n=3,005 U.S. adults). 

Among affected adults, more than half (54%) report encountering supply issues three or more times in November-December, while one-quarter have experienced them five or more times.

Online Versus In-Store Shopping

People who prefer shopping in stores are more likely to report experiencing repeat shortages – close to 20% say they have come across product shortages five or more times, compared to 11% of those who prefer online shopping. However, both kinds of shoppers report not experiencing any issues at all at nearly equal rates (34% and 36%). Shopping online may currently prove less problematic than shopping in stores, but online shoppers are still running into inventory issues.

Supply Shortages and Inflation Concern

In general, the rate at which someone experienced supply chain shortages in the past month directly correlates with how likely they are to be concerned about inflation, suggesting more than just coincidence. Individuals encountering the greatest number of shortages are twice as likely to say they’re “very concerned” about inflation in the U.S., compared to those who have not experienced shortages. Regularly coming face-to-face (in stores or online) with supply chain problems is undoubtedly intensifying worries over inflation right now. These concerns add to the cocktail of low economic sentiment and consumer confidence.

Lastly, empty shelves and out-of-stock messages aren’t exactly lifting the holiday spirit. Surveying those who usually celebrate Christmas, more than 20% report having been affected by shortages of real Christmas trees. A small percentage (8%) are still searching for a tree, while 4% have opted to go with a fake tree instead.