KING OF PRUSSIA, Pennsylvania -- With the holiday shopping suddenly upon us, it appears that getting that perfect gift or preparing that perfect meal will be far more challenging than in years past due to supply chain issues.
Shoppers are noticing that it's difficult to find a variety of items, and virtually everything from food to Christmas trees are more expensive.
The price increase is being caused by gridlock at major seaports and a truck driver shortage across the country. Analysts say the forecast for the holiday season is not looking better.
"There will be some level of supply shortages, some delays in terms of buying goods," said Adam Kamins of Moody's Analytics.
The advice to holiday shoppers?
"Start early and make sure you're very mindful of your budget," said Mark Fried of TFG Wealth Management.
"That's why I'm getting a head start by coming out early, so I can have the stuff already in the house in case there is a shortage of things that I might be looking for," said shopper Alisa Allen.
An increasing number of shoppers are hoping to avoid the shortages and delays by shopping online... but there's a caveat.
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"I warn people just because you purchased it online in what you would think is on time doesn't mean it's going to get delivered on time for the holiday season," said Fried.
Hoping to ease the crunch, some retailers like Target are starting Black Friday sales early.
"It started probably a week or more ago because retailers know that there's going to be limited supplies, and so they're trying to get everything they can out on the shelves," said Fried.
Analysts advise shoppers to make adjustments.
"You'll be able to get a gift for the holidays, but you want to think ahead, and you want to be a little more flexible about what you're gonna get and what you may need to pay," said Kamins.
Bottom line: Experts say to make your purchases earlier than Black Friday.