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Home appliance shortage hit by global supply chain crisis. When can consumers expect relief?

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Home appliances hit hard by supply chain crisis' Consumer Matters: Home appliances hit hard by supply chain crisis
Home appliances have been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing supply chain crisis. Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa has more on the problem and when consumers might see some relief. – Oct 18, 2021

Shopping for a new refrigerator or stove? The global supply chain shortage is causing major delays with some consumers waiting well over a year for appliances to arrive.

“I wish I had something really positive to say, but it’s kind of hope for the best. As much as possible for anyone contemplating a renovation or even a custom home construction of that nature, the key issue is to plan ahead and order ahead,” Homebuilders Association Vancouver’s Ron Rapp told Consumer Matters.

In his 15 years as owner of Vancouver-based Appliance Outlet, Lazar Ilic says many retailers have been hit hard by the supply chain crisis with lower than normal inventory and fewer types of appliances in the showroom. “The supply issue has been an issue for the last year and we’re lucky to have anything in inventory right now, “ Ilic said.

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Semiconductor chip shortages, labour shortages, pandemic-related factory lockdowns, and logistical challenges are all contributing to the appliance shortage.

“Since January 2020, there have been significant shipping disruptions with each bout of COVID in a different part of the world,” said Retail Council of Canada’s Greg Wilson. “These (appliances) aren’t products that are generally manufactured within North America and so they are having to be shipped or parts of them are having to be shipped elsewhere in the world.”

It’s a situation that has the industry calling for change.

“I’m hoping the manufacturer will start making some stuff local, maybe in United States, Canada or Mexico and being able to supply these things that are needed. It really is out of our hands as private retailers. It really depends on the people who are making it,” Ilic added.

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The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers told Consumer Matters in some cases the supply chain timeline has doubled or tripled. “The home appliance industry is urging action from policymakers to alleviate the damage to the supply chain while working around the clock to deliver appliances that are essential to our daily life,” The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers said in a statement.

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As to when consumers and retailers can expect some relief, some industry experts are forecasting well into next year.

“It is getting better. It is normalizing, but it’s taking a lot of time to normalize. My expectation is at least for the next six to nine months we’ll be experiencing some of the problems,” Wilson said.

To contact Anne Drewa and Consumer Matters, email story information and contact details to consumermatters@globalnews.ca

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