Supply chain crisis: Will Germany see shortages this Christmas?

Supply chain crisis: Will Germany see shortages this Christmas?

With material shortages, supply disruptions and heavy port congestion all putting pressure on Germany’s supply chains, many retailers and consumers are looking anxiously forward to the Christmas period. The country’s biggest retail association has said there is no cause for concern, but others aren’t quite so optimistic. 

Global supply chain crisis felt in Germany

The world’s supply chains are in disarray. First struck by factory and port closures, companies are now battling with raw material shortages, fierce competition for freight spaces and congestion in ports, as the world economy reboots after the coronavirus crisis

This makes for a long list of obstacles when it comes to the supply of goods to Germany, and some importers and retailers have already begun sounding the alarm about bottlenecks before the holidays. Marco Andreas, who runs a wholesale decorations business in Dietzenbach, told ARD that he is still waiting for upwards of 40 percent of his seasonal stock to arrive: “Containers are not available, ships are fully booked, trucks are not on the move.” 

Other companies like Kik and Lidl have also experienced difficulties, with the latter adjusting its relevant advertising dates for various Christmas ranges. Electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn has said it expects delivery bottlenecks towards the end of the year, with “smartphones, tablets, printers, dishwashers and refrigerators” likely to be particularly affected, according to a spokesperson. 

These are not just isolated cases. Indeed, it seems that the effects of the crisis are being felt across the country. According to a survey by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), 42 percent of German companies are struggling to process existing orders, while 26 percent have had to cut back or even stop production.

German Trade Association says there is no need to worry

However, the managing director of the German Trade Association (HDE), Stefan Genth, has reassured consumers that there is no cause for concern. “Shopping for suitable Christmas presents will certainly be possible this year,” he said. “Is it not to be expected that people will be standing in front of empty shelves.”

Genth did concede that some popular products might become scarce at the end of the year, including game consoles and “big ticket” toys like Lego and Playmobil. Retailers are therefore advising customers to shop early to avoid disappointment - although those who play it cool might scoop up big savings in the sales. 

According to a survey by EY, more than half of adults in Germany start buying their Christmas gifts as early as October and November. Over the past few years, German retailers took home a combined turnover of around 100 billion euros in November and December. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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