The Covid-19 pandemic has caused new and expecting parents undue stress due to a lack of supplies. Even though the birth rate in the U.S. has been in a decline, baby items like strollers, cribs, and diapers have been harder to come by since 2020.
In 2020, there were over 3.6 million babies born in the United States. Delays for baby products were the norm, and the delays are expected to continue through 2022. Items that typically took 8-10 weeks to arrive are sometimes taking twice the time. Supply chain issues may extend the delays even longer.
Maisonette is an online baby marketplace that works with 1,000 vendors. They reported that most of the delays are coming from Asia and Peru. The Pima cotton used to make baby apparel is sourced in Peru. Some of the sellers blame truck driver shortages, lack of parts or lack of shipping containers, and logistical challenges once their items do make it stateside.
Delta Children, a popular children’s furniture brand sold at Walmart and Pottery Barn is experiencing months-long delays. Their normal production of a continually sold item is around 45-60 days. It then takes 12 days to travel across the ocean to reach California. Joe Shamie, the president of Delta reports it now takes several months just to transport the item to the U.S.
Newborn and baby items have a unique problem in the supply chain crisis. Some religious practices and superstitions warn against buying newborn items too far in advance of the baby’s arrival. Reluctant parents are then stuck having to scrounge together what they can find at the last minute.
Lauren Logan, the owner of the family-run baby retailer, Juvenile Shop stated:
“This has led to higher prices and a robust ‘hand-me-down market,’ adding stress and anxiety to the already emotionally challenging environment for the parents-to-be.
They are hormonal, but they are pregnant — they want their stuff. I don’t blame them. I want their stuff for them.”
In these desperate times, Logan has resorted to loaning out floor models of products, chairs, and even car seats. This is costing her business money, but it is better than selling nothing due to delays.
One expecting mom in California had to cancel her Pottery Barn crib order due to long delays. She knows it’s not the end of the world, but did say, “It just kind of gets frustrating after a while.”