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: Online retailers told shoppers that products were out of stock 2 billion times last month

Consumers encountered the most out-of-stock messages for electronics in October. Read More...

For months U.S. retailers have been warning customers that there will be shortages this holiday season due to supply-chain problems.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, those warnings are already the reality.

Last month, shoppers encountered more than 2 billion out-of-stock messages online, according to new Adobe Analytics ADBE, -3.06% data that analyzed over 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites.

That’s a 325% increase from October 2019, according to the report.

Among the 18 categories Adobe tracked, electronics saw the highest out-of-stock levels followed by jewelry, apparel, home and garden supplies and pet supplies.

The prevalence of out-of-stock messages is pushing more shoppers to buy gift cards, said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. Last month consumers bought 20% more gift cards compared to September, according to the data.

But concerns about shortages resulting from supply chain issues — a side effect of global labor shortages and factory shutdowns — extend beyond holiday gifts.

Some Americans are stocking up on food and other household essentials such as baby formula and frozen vegetables. For the most part, hoarding does not appear to be a widespread phenomenon — at least for now. But there are some signs that there could be another run on some household items. 

The total on-shelf-availability rate in supermarkets was 94.6% in September, a decrease from 95.2% in August, according to data from NielsenIQ.

That means that retailers generated 94.6% of the revenue they expected to last month — a sign that stores aren’t able to stock empty shelves to meet consumer demand.

MarketWatch wants to hear from you! How are supply chain disruptions impacting your day-to-day lives? Email [email protected] to share your experience.

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