America made it through Christmas without too many bare shelves, despite historic port congestion. Goods were brought in early and shoppers shopped early. Holiday sales were up 11% from 2019, pre-COVID.
Google searches for the term “port congestion” were up 376% from the beginning of 2021 in the second week of October. Searches for the term “supply chain” peaked in the third week of October, up 194% from the beginning of last year. Searches for both terms then faded back to normal in November.
Supply chain pressures are trending in the opposite direction of Google searches. The holiday rush may be over, but the offshore traffic jam of container ships is still getting worse, and the volume of inventory on the water (thus unavailable for sale) is still increasing.
As 2022 begins, import volumes remain very strong ahead of China’s Lunar New Year holiday, concerns are mounting about omicron-induced dockworker shortages at U.S. terminals, and the number of container ships waiting for berths in Southern California has — yet again — hit a new high.