Central Coast buyers arrive early with concerns about shipping delays

SANTA BARBARA, California – Early bird travelers frequent many of the retail centers and small businesses on the Central Coast.

The tradition of waiting until after Thanksgiving to start Christmas shopping is being tipped back this year after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed in 2020 and habits changed during the holiday season on delayed cargo ships.

Downtown Santa Barbara shopkeepers say they’ve seen customers with serious buying intentions in the past few weeks, and early holiday deals have been released.

Many places have decorations and eye-catching Christmas displays on the windows.

The inventory stores are promoting their buy it now options at a time when some items that the customers are looking for may be on a ship docked off the coast of Los Angeles that has been backlogged, or in a container that has not been sorted out or delivered.

In some cases, buyers have indicated that they will be picking up items before Halloween. This includes gifts and decorations.

It is still unclear what kind of sales will be offered this year. The early shopping spree often comes with the discovery of discounts of over 50 percent in many stores in the days after Thanksgiving.

Later in the shopping season, retailers say they have lower deals in the final days before Christmas. That could be just what it takes to finish the year and weather unusual economic times.

In some cases, “out of stock” signs have already become a problem for buyers. Store owners say this will be a consideration when deciding to buy – if it’s available, the time to buy may be now, not later.

The National Toy Association says that due to delivery issues, expect a possible decline in choices for the holidays. The group says some items may not arrive until early 2022.

According to the National Retail Federation, Christmas sales will increase between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent in November and December compared to 2020.

Some local retailers are also changing their window displays and display shelves to attract shoppers as soon as possible.

See you tonight on Newschannel 3-12 and KKFX Fox 11.

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