It may be the end of August but it’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. With so many recent supply chain issues, toys are already getting stuck and Santa’s workshop is in overdrive!

The news comes after a warning from toy manufacturers that a global shipping bottleneck has holiday items stuck in transit.

“Everybody is scrambling right now, everybody’s trying to get goods out of China and Asia, and into the United States,” said Chris Byrne, independent toy consultant, The Toy Guy.

Chris says summer is crunch time to get toys stocked in time for holiday shopping, but as supply chains reboot during this COVID era, every aspect of the transportation process is backed up from containers to ships to trucks and rail cars — and that has affected costs. 

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“You can’t find enough containers to get your product to you and get it here in time for this coming holiday season,” said Curtis McGill, CFO of Hey Buddy Hey Pal. “We’re going to see fewer items on the shelves, fewer choices for the moms and dads over the Christmas holiday, probably at higher prices.”

One index shows that since last year, the average cost of shipping a container from China jumped 5 times higher.

“I’ve been doing this 15 years and there’s never been anything like this,” said Josh Loerzel, VP of sales at Hog Wild Toys.

Loerzel says squeezed by these shipping costs, “You’ll see prices increase from the actual cost itself, but then you’ll see empty shelves.”

His company was forced to raise prices on their newest item by $3.

The Wall Street Journal saying some LOL surprise dolls will see price increases from $10 to $12 and Hasbro in their earnings call remarks saying shipping costs will cause price hikes later this year. 

Santa is going to fly like he has never failed,” added Byrne. “He just doesn’t know exactly what’s going to be in that sleigh yet.”

Experts say come Black Friday we could likely see prices rise for electronics, furniture, apparel, and appliances.

The bottom line — if there is a must-have toy on your list or you want to get your shopping done before toy prices really skyrocket — now is the time to buy.