Marcus Lawrence | 

Is There a Toy Shortage? What You Need to Know

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The global supply chain has been stressed the heck out over the past year, and now it’s hitting our holiday toy shopping.

There has been lots of chatter about a toy shortage this holiday season. The question isn’t if there’s going to be a toy shortage, but when it will begin, how long it will last, and how severe it’ll be.

But don’t fret; KCL is still here to help you find the best toy deals, shortage or nah.

Here’s what you need to know:


Toys are literally stuck on overpriced shipping containers.

Hundreds of shipping containers at a port

Toy companies are having a hard time getting their product shipped to the U.S. from overseas factories.

There are three problems:

  1. Shipping containers are in short supply this year because so many of them are waiting at ports.
  2. Shipping containers cost almost 10 times what they did in 2020 (yay, supply and demand!).
  3. Labor shortages are making it super difficult to get the shipping containers off the docks in the U.S.

Some toy companies have shipped less product in 2021 due to the difficulties. Others say their product is stuck on barges waiting to be unloaded. And then, a lack of truck drivers makes getting the products to stores difficult.


There will be a smaller variety of toys available.

Lol Surprise clubhouse at Target

MGA Entertainment—the makers of LOL Surprise!, Bratz dolls, and Little Tikes—says that with all the shipping difficulties, they’re only focusing on their top sellers. Other toymakers are doing the exact same thing.

That means there will be fewer choices in the toy aisle this holiday season, because lower-demand products aren’t coming.


Toys will be more expensive—especially from smaller toy companies.

Target toy aisle

While Hasbro, Mattel, and LEGO say they won’t have any major problems with shipping or distribution, the cost of doing business is much higher right now.

In addition to shipping, material costs have spiked. For example, the cost of plastic increased 46% from July 2020 to July 2021—and it’s still rising. Manufacturing costs for toys and games are 6.4% higher for that same time period.

All that means shoppers will pay more for this holiday season. And sales will be few and far between.

Toy industry watchers say to expect price increases of 5-10% this holiday season—but some smaller toymakers have increased prices by as much as 20%. Hog Wild has raised the MSRP of their newest toy, Handy Grabs, from $14.99 to $17.99.


Expect much longer shipping times when shopping online, so order early.

Amazon prime box on porch

If you’re planning to shop online for toys this holiday season, you’re going to want to order sooner than later.

The shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. means longer-than-normal delivery times; execs at large shipping/logistics companies say to expect 4-6 weeks for delivery. You’ll probably want to have a backup plan in place.



The computer chip shortage means electronics like the PlayStation 5 will be harder to find.

Playstation sign

Ordering ASAP is even more important for video game consoles, experts say. The global computer chip shortage is making certain electronics hard to come by.

Sony says that the already-tough-to-get PlayStation 5 console will be even more difficult to get in 2021 as a result.

And that’s saying something; last year, PS5’s were really tough to find.


Shelves aren’t bare, yet—but they will be.

Nearly empty shelves of Lego product at a Walmart store, December 2018

Via Reddit

Toy execs and shipping/logistics companies have been saying for months that shoppers should be prepared for bare toy shelves throughout the holiday season.

Jay Foreman—the CEO of the company that owns Fisher-Price toys, among other brands—told CNN that there will be “various times during the holiday season” where store shelves will have “empty holes” and “constant outages” of the most in-demand toys.


Don’t panic; there are still great toy deals to be had.

two women sit in a pile of toys at Target

This is pretty crappy news, but fear not—Krazy Coupon Lady is constantly on the lookout for great toy deals, online and in stores.

Make sure you get the KCL app, sign up for deal alerts on your favorite brands, and be ready to pounce on the great prices and offers we find.

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