A family shops for holiday toys and decor. | Source: Adobe Stock

Consumers seem to be getting the message that shopping early is a good idea this year.

While selection has varied widely from fully-packed shelves to bare aisles depending on location, consumer demand continues to be high despite the current global supply chain crisis. Both the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Retail Federation (NRF) — which use differing methodology in their calculations — reported retail sales growth in October. Not only were sales stronger than in September, but year-over-year sales spiked 10.8% according to the NRF and 16.3% according to the Census Bureau.

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“Retail sales data for October reflects the enduring strength of consumers’ finances and willingness to spend as the holiday season gets underway,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The robust balance sheets of American households are being met by retailer preparation and hard work to provide products that consumers want at competitive prices. Despite significant challenges including supply chain issues, labor shortages, rising inflation, and OSHA’s impending employer vaccine mandate, retailers are continuing to safely serve consumers online and in stores. Today’s numbers show that consumers are getting a jump on their holiday shopping. We continue to urge consumers to shop early and shop safely, and we fully expect this holiday season to be one for the record books.”

Overall, the NRF believes that this holiday season could see 8.5% to 10.5% growth over last year.

That bodes well for the toy industry as many of the major players have taken action to mitigate supply chain issues.