Report: Surging Demand And Supply-Chain Problems Could Lead To Toy Shortage During Holidays

We're just over three months out from Christmas Day and the holiday rush to get toys to put under the tree might be more difficult than ever in 2021. A major report from Reuters goes into great detail about issues with shipping and logistics across the globe that have resulted in toy manufacturers like LEGO, Funko, and Mattel having to seek new means of getting their products into stores before the holiday season. Retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are also reportedly having to get creative to make sure their shelves are stocked as the importing of toys, dolls, and games in the first part of 2021 has reached record heights.

According to the outlet, toy manufacturers including Funko are "using pricey cargo planes, routing shipments to new seaports, and asking retailers like Target to do their own shipping." The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major disruptions for shipping costs and timing around the globe, especially as the virus itself continues to impact pivotal sections of the supply chain. They note there have been entire "port and plant shutdowns in Asia" as a result of the continued spread of COVID-19, further delaying materials for shopping stateside.

Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, the company behind brands like Bratz, Moxie Girlz, and Poopsie Slime Surprise, is quoted as telling Reuters "There is more demand than we can supply.

Previously, shipping toys from their east Asian manufacturing plants to the United States was the standard but as Reuters reports many companies have begun chartering airplanes to get their goods to America. Another person interview for the piece, Neel Jones Shah, global head of air freight at Flexport, told the outlet that "one-way charter flights now cost $1.2-$1.5 million,' marking an increase of nearly x3 the traditional cost.

"There's no capacity left, it almost would take a miracle for you to find a charter between now and the end of November, early December," Jones Shah added.

It's not all doom and gloom however, a spokesperson for LEGO made a comment that they are not "experiencing any significant disruption to the overall supply of our products or raw materials and are able to meet demand." So if all else fails, look for the LEGO aisle this December.

To paint the grimmest possible picture, Kids2 (parent company of brand Baby Einstein) CEO Ryan Gunnigle told the outlet: "We've had multiple containers just sitting in Asia, the factories are backed up - it's just problem on problem on problem." 

As The LA Times put it in an expose earlier this month: "The supply chain is messed up - start holiday shopping now."

(Cover photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)