Big Box Reviews
How to Buy Major Appliances During Covid
2020 was a year that turned many major industries upside down. While many were hoping for a return to normalcy in 2021 one thing hasn't changed, supply shortages. Toilet paper is back in stock in most places, but anyone who has ordered a major appliance in the last year will tell you that appliances are not. With many big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe's out of stock on appliance, back orders are taking much longer than usual with ETA's out several months in many cases. Chances are this means that Home Depot and Lowe's will not be delivering or installing your appliances any time soon.
What is Causing These Delays?
A perfect storm of factors are leading to these delays. A year spent at home is causing many consumers to upgrade their big ticket appliances instead of going on vacation, while record low interest rates on mortgages are encouraging more people to buy and build. These factors are leading to unprecedented demand for appliances, and manufacturers who have traditionally maintained lean inventories to save on costs are struggling to ramp up production to meet this demand while still complying with Covid safety protocols. Meanwhile, record cold temperatures in Texas in February shut down oil production facilities temporarily, causing delays in petroleum based products like plastic. Computer chips used in many appliances are in short supply, as well as raw materials like steel. There are also shipping container and labor shortages contributing to the problem. To top it all off, a freak accident caused a blockage in the Suez Canal, a major shipping lane, and hasn't helped matters.
So How Do I Get Appliances This Year?
We are recommending to shop local independent retailers over the big box stores for a couple of reasons. Stores like Home Depot and Lowe's have their large warehouses centrally located, which means that typically to deliver and install your appliance, if they even have it in stock, it first needs to be shipped to your area. With a local appliance dealer, in-stock inventory is kept locally which means less delay for you. If you do decide to back order your appliances, you will typically be working with an appliance specialist who will help you to track your order and give you updates on ETA's. This is a far cry from the big boxes, where whoever is on staff that day will try to help you after they help another customer find paint or hardware.
So shop local to avoid shipping delays on in-stock products and try to find a store like those in our preferred dealer locator with product specialists on hand to assist you if you do decide to back order a product.