Why are Appliances Out of Stock?
If you have tried to purchase major appliances this last year you may be asking yourself, "Why is there an appliance shortage, and how long are appliances back ordered?" Like most of our problems this year, you can thank Covid-19 for many of the delays. Supply chains in many industries like toilet paper, soda and meat have been common, and unfortunately the appliance industry is no different.
Supply shortages continue to affect a variety of industries
So What's the Hold-Up?
With any complicated issue like manufacturing supply chains, it's not just one issue causing these delays. Shortages of integral materials like steel, plastic, and circuit boards have caused rippling delays that flow from one stage of assembly to the next. This has caused significant delays, up to a year in some cases, in the manufacture and delivery of major kitchen appliances like refrigerators. The problem is compounded by an increase in demand caused by large numbers of people working from home and realizing that their appliances are due for an upgrade. And because many workers have skipped their yearly vacations, they have the disposable income to consider remodeling their kitchen instead, putting further strain on an industry already struggling to keep up.
What to do if you need appliances, and where to buy
These are unprecedented times and unfortunately, while supplies have improved slightly in the last few months, it looks like it will be quite some time before stock on major appliances returns to normal. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you make the best of a bad situation:
If you need appliances sooner than later, now is not the time to be picky. You can choose to back order a specific model, but ETA's have been getting pushed back left and right from all manufacturers and it may be months before you get your appliance. Obviously, if you don't have a fridge you can't wait that long. So be flexible and if you find something in stock that you can live with, take it. If you are brand specific to a company like Bosch or LG, check to see if there is a similar model in stock, or the same model in an alternate color like Black Stainless. And don't be afraid of a mismatched kitchen. Many brands now make models of refrigerators and dishwashers without handles or branding on the front which won't clash with each other.
If you still have working appliances and can afford to wait, shop well in advance. If you think you still have life in your old appliances and they are not catastrophically failing, order replacements as soon as possible. You do not want your fridge to die while you are waiting for a back order, and back orders are sometimes taking several months right now. How long back orders will be delayed is anyone's guess at this time.
You can shop at a big box store like Lowe's or Home Depot for your new refrigerator, but keep in mind that high brand recognition will more than likely mean that demand at these stores will also be high. Local specialty stores, like those in our preferred dealer locator, have local warehouses that may have product available that you can't get at the big box stores. Their staffs tend to be more knowledgeable as well since they only deal with appliances.