Kiwis urged to buy Christmas gifts now to avoid supply issues

Kiwis are being urged to buy Christmas gifts now despite inflated prices, as there are concerns about what will be on shelves in December.

Retail NZ CEO Greg Harford told The AM Show on Tuesday that there's a variety of factors which will likely mean popular products will sell out.

"There's two things going on at the moment. Firstly, there is some real price inflation at the moment because the cost of getting the product into the shops and out to consumers is going up so prices are increasing. 

"But at the same time, we have a real crunch in the supply chain. It's hard getting product out of factories and onto ships. It's hard to get ships down to New Zealand as some ships have cut capacity down to this part of the world. Then there are still delays at the Ports of Auckland."

He says retailers are working hard to make sure there are products available during the Christmas shopping rush, but there are no guarantees, especially for popular games and toys.

"There will definitely be things to buy in December but the question is what will they be? If you are really wanting a particular brand or a particular colour, it really is a good idea to do that as early as possible."

Harford's advice is to "get out and get it early".

Supplier Planet Fun is among the businesses urging parents to start thinking about Christmas gifts now as toy stock remains stuck in container ships.

Chief executive Jeremy Kirk-Smith told Newshub several popular brands are being impacted by the delays.

"The supply chain is an absolute mess from the very early stages of production.”

"We used to be able to order goods and get them shipped in 90 days, and then we would allow 25 days to get to New Zealand - that time period is now a minimum of six and sometimes seven or eight months."

Kiwis are also being asked to consider alternative gift ideas like gift vouchers for experiences run by tourism operators across the country.

Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) has launched Gifting Hub on which will also provide income to the struggling tourism sector regardless of the country's COVID-19 status.  

TNZ says the website is "a treasure trove of ideas that are ready to be gifted to your nearest and dearest to enjoy."