• January 27, 2022
 Summer of Shortages: Survey reveals 70% of Americans having trouble getting products, services

in 10 Americans report not being able to find the products they need or enjoy the services they’ve come to rely on because of product and labor shortages

Summer of Shortages: Survey reveals 70% of Americans having trouble getting products, services

It’s not just you: 7 in 10 Americans report not being able to find the products they need or enjoy the services they’ve come to rely on because of product and labor shortages. That was the main finding in a LendingTree survey of more than 2,000 consumers.

As such, many consumers are choosing to wait things out rather than pay extra or deal with frustrating customer experiences. However, some consumers are understanding and accepting of higher costs in certain situations. Here’s what consumers had to say about the summer of shortages.

The vast majority of consumers (70%) are feeling the summer shortage crunch, whether it’s not being able to get a particular product or experiencing a lack of good service.

Product shortages seem to be hampering all aspects of life, from people’s diets, to their home remodeling plans, the electronics they buy and the cars they drive. For some, even just being able to prevent their pools from turning green has become a hassle.

Among the generations, Gen Z had the highest percentage of respondents say they’ve been impacted by product shortages with 75% saying so, versus 61% of Gen X and 48% of boomers. Gen Z is also unique, in that it was the only generation whose highest percentage of product shortage experience was with gas (29% versus 23% for millennials, 19% for Gen Xers and 12% for baby boomers). Meanwhile, the other generations experienced their highest percentage of shortage in meat products: 25% for millennials, 22% for Gen Xers and 16% for baby boomers (notably, Gen Z also had 22%, its second-highest percentage of that demographic).

Key findings
  • 70% of Americans are struggling to obtain various products and services due to shortages. The most commonly cited product shortages include meat (21%), gas (20%), appliances (16%), cars (15%) and lumber (13%). But it’s not just goods — 23% of parents with young children are having trouble finding a babysitter, and 22% of restaurant patrons have noted unusually slow or poor service.
  • More than half of Americans (54%) are putting off big projects and purchases as a result of the shortages facing the nation. For example, 26% held off on a vacation and 20% tabled home improvement projects.
  • More people than not have accepted the price increases caused by shortages and rising business costs. While 54% are understanding of small businesses raising their prices, 46% feel it’s unfair to pass their higher expenses onto the consumer.
  • Three in 10 said they are willing to spend extra money in order to get their products or services faster during the shortages. On the other hand, 70% would wait “as long as it takes” in order to save.
  • Paying more for products and services is OK with 71% of Americans, if doing so means higher wages for workers. That’s more than the percentage who said they would be willing to pay more to prevent shortages in the future (66%).

Labor shortages are the other noticeable trend this summer, with 51% of survey respondents reporting difficulty obtaining certain services. The top areas affecting consumers include:

  • Unusually slow or poor service in restaurants: 22%
  • Pools, beaches or lakes closed due to lack of lifeguards: 12%
  • Difficulty getting an Uber or Lyft due to driver shortage: 12%
  • Flights canceled due to lack of airline workers: 7%

Of course, some shortages impact specific groups more than others: For instance, 23% of parents with children under 18 cited that babysitters have been hard to come by.

Shortage side effect: Holding off on big projects or purchases

Rather than deal with delays and frustrations, many consumers have adopted a “wait it out” approach regarding their summer getaways or home improvement plans.

It makes sense why 26% of consumers say they’re opting not to take a vacation this summer — with an even higher percentage among millennials (34%). For one thing, it could be harder to find flights (or at least ones at reasonable prices at times you’re willing to fly).

There have also been reports of rental car shortages, not to mention that it’s more expensive to gas up for a road trip. Plus, cruises are still few and far between. On top of it all, trying to get customer service on the phone to ask a question or book a rewards flight can at times be nearly impossible.

On the home front, the difficulty in ordering new appliances stems from a variety of factors. These include the shortage of computer chips and shipping containers, as well as the real estate boom — even home builders are dealing with unprecedented appliance delays. Add to that the high cost of lumber and the difficulty in finding contractors to hire, and it’s easy to understand why 20% of consumers say they are holding off on their home improvement projects right now. The percentage is even higher among consumers earning $100,000 or more per year (29%).

To read the complete report, click here. 

Author: DAWN PAPANDREA

Staff Report

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