MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar) – A good number of local shoppers are splurging on gifts. The holiday season has them searching store shelf to store shelf, some of which have been cleared of products.

If an item isn’t available, some shoppers say they make the decision to buy the next best option.

On Midland Drive, shoppers at Target are buying their last-minute gifts. Groceries, home essentials, and toys – unrelated to Christmas – are also on shoppers’ lists.

“Is that for Christmas or just for fun?” Reporter Rob Tooke asks two young shoppers, Dallas and John, about the pair of colorful boxes they’re holding. They’re shopping with their mother.

“Just for fun,” both reply, in unison.

Marquis is shopping for his four children.

“…Toys, Hot Wheels, footballs, basketballs, baby toys…” Marquis said, showing his cart’s contents.

Erika Cruz said she left Target with a sweater. It wasn’t the item she had initially set out for.

“I was looking for stockings, because of course, I do everything last minute, and they had none,” Cruz laughed.

There’s no doubt shopping this time of year can be hectic.

“…Saving it for the last minute, procrastination for sure,” Mary McClain mused.

After all, demand for goods are up. Ongoing disruptions to the global supply chain are having an effect on retailers nationwide. But it’s no reason to panic.

Doug Johnson is a professor of business and economics at Midland College. Rob Tooke spoke with him to understand how consumer needs are being met during holidays.

Johnson says historical data shows that demand for goods increases during the holiday season, which means businesses should anticipate that higher demand.

Anything can disrupt the links in the chain – production, manufacturing, distribution, transportation – which would slow down a product on its way to the shopper. For example, a backlog at U.S. ports , along with a shortage of drivers who move that cargo once it’s unloaded at the ports, can determine the speed in which products end up on store shelves, and the quantity.

“The end result is supplies at the retail outlets or the wholesale outlets are slowed down. Customers still have the same amount of demand for the product. But the supplies can’t get there in time,” Johnson said.

Another significant variable that can affect the processes within the supply chain is labor. Labor shortages have been widely reported in industries including transportation and service.

The pandemic has influenced the global business environment since last year. But Professor Johnson says businesses are smart and actively working to address the demands of consumers. After all, businesses exist in a competitive environment, and Johnson says their ultimate purpose is to satisfy the wants and needs of the customer. Johnson says disruptions in the supply chain should should be ironed out with time.  

At the end of the day, Johnson says shoppers have three significant options: buy the product they want, buy the alternate, or don’t buy anything.

Marquis at Target that assertion is true. He had to pick an alternate gift for his son. But it wasn’t a big deal.

“An alternate for almost everything. We wanted the Hot Wheels R/C, but we couldn’t find one. I grabbed the Monster Jam, so…” Marquis said.