Photo (c) Maskot – Getty ImagesWhile it’s only early August, it might be wise to start thinking about Christmas shopping now, especially when it comes to shipping.

Since the peak of the pandemic, the supply chain has suffered from a number of bottlenecks that have not gotten better. Industry analysts are now warning that floods in China and Europe will exacerbate these problems.

As a result, they warn that the 2021 Christmas shopping season could be severely affected, with a shortage of popular items and delays in delivery to the consumers who buy them.

“Black Friday and the Christmas season, for which products and raw materials are staged, will have the brunt of the impact,” said Pawan Joshi, executive vice president of supply chain software company E2open said CNBC this week.

Floods made things worse

Floods on opposite ends of the world seem to have made a dire problem worse. The Chinese province of Henan has been severely affected by flooding. As it is a major transportation hub, damage to roads and railways will slow down the transportation of finished goods and raw materials.

The floods also affected the transport networks in Western Europe. In addition to damage to the transport infrastructure, floods have damaged factories and machines.

The clogged supply chain for raw materials will have a delay, said Joshi. It will prevent manufacturers from making normal quantities of a wide range of finished products, a situation that will be strongly felt later in the year.

“Consumer electronics, dorm furniture, clothing and appliances will all continue to be scarce when back-to-school shopping starts, and they will flow into the peak Christmas shopping season,” he said.

Other problems

The global economy is already grappling with the effects of various supply chain problems. The closure of the Suez Canal last year by a stranded ship was only recently resolved. Renewed outbreaks of the coronavirus have reduced the workforce at various production and dispatch centers.

And don’t forget the lack of computer chips. The industry has not yet recovered and is affecting other industries, from consumer electronics to the auto industry.

For consumers who haven’t started thinking about the holidays, now may be the right time to start. Shopping at local vendors who have inventory in stock may be one of the best ways to avoid getting caught waiting for a gift item to arrive.

Shopping early can also be a good strategy. Expect the Black Friday sales events to begin well before the actual weekend.