Around 60 per cent of British suppliers, including those of garden toys, games, and other outdoor equipment, have experienced import delays in the past month, according to the customs clearance platform, KlearNow that could eat into demand over the coming summer months.
Based on findings uncovered from interviews with 300 import-export businesses based in the UK, the platform has cited a combination of Covid-19 restrictions, the backlog from the Suez Canal blockage, and increasing global demand for shipping containers as the root causes of delayed goods this summer.
Goods that were scheduled to arrive in the UK weeks ago are still stuck on container ships, while some smaller businesses are finding themselves “priced out of landing the goods and materials they need” owing to increased competition for container space in these summer months.
“A combination of Covid-19 restrictions, the backlog from the Suez Canal blockage, increasing global demand for shipping containers, disruption to shipping caused by India’s public health crisis and a shortage of packaging materials means UK businesses are already struggling to meet summer demand,” said KlearNow’s chief executive Sam Tyagi.
“With competition for container space so high, some smaller businesses are simply being priced out of landing the goods and materials that they need.”
ToyNews reported early on of issues surrounding the toy industry, when a number of companies came forwards to suggest that the Suez Canal fiasco would ’cause supply headaches later down the line.’
Items like garden toys and games are among those being held up by delays, while ToyNews has learned that some suppliers are now suggesting ‘serious issues caused and major impacts on business.’
Speaking to the BBC this week, Katherine Rhodes of the retailer PomPom, said: “We’re experiencing delays of up to four months on wooden toys coming from the Far East, handmade baskets and wood supplies. And we’ve had to wait 16 weeks for cardboard boxes.”
Meanwhile, the competition for garden furniture looks to be pushing many small businesses and Britons to secondhand mobile marketplaces – with retailer Shpock announcing a 157 per cent increase in Home & Garden sales than it did in the first quarter of the year.
Iyesha Cheema-Bradshaw, brand and content manager at Shpock, said that it is currently a “challenging environment for buyers, where summer products are in short supply,” noting that the second hand retailer has seen a “sharp increase in garden sales” fueled by buyers “looking towards platforms with plentiful supply of quality items.”
Platforms such as Shpock have been quick to embrace the current supply issues, noting that the drive towards second hand shopping has helped encourage the message of a more circular economy.
“Secondhand shopping is becoming a major way for buyers to cut down on emissions and waste by reusing goods,” said Cheema-Bradshaw. “A recent study commissioned by Shpock found that in 2020 the buying and selling of secondhand Home and Garden items across the UK helped save 29,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.”
Having gathered its own data through the Sphock platform alone, the retailer suggests that the truer, nation-wide impact is likely to be higher still.