As if Christmas shopping wasn’t stressful enough, a new Angus Reid poll finds about half of Canadian respondents have reported some level of difficulty finding the items they’re looking for in store because of ongoing supply chain disruptions. 

Retailers and manufacturers have been warning Canadians for months to start their holiday shopping early this year as they struggle with labour shortages, shipping issues and production bottlenecks, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently, the flooding and mudslides in British Columbia that wreaked havoc on key highway and railway corridors. 

While it’s still early days, some businesses fear the new Omicron variant could prolong or even worsen the current supply chain situation. 

The poll found about a third of Canadians heeded that call and began their holiday shopping earlier than usual, while a small number of respondents – six per cent – are delaying their gift buying in the hopes that some of these supply chain obstacles will ease in the coming weeks.  

When it comes to online shoppers, Angus Reid found 40 per cent of respondents said they had at least some trouble finding the items they wanted, while the rest reported having “no difficulty at all.” 

On top of the usual pressure to find the perfect gift, rising prices are adding another layer of stress to household budgets this year - a little over half of respondents (54 per cent) said they were feeling worse emotionally compared to prior years. Of those particularly affected are younger women.

The amount of stress Canadians are feeling this holiday could alter their spending habits – the poll suggested that of those that are feeling more financial stress than usual, 41 per cent plant to reduce their spending in December.