Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The trend toward digital gifts could accelerate this holidays with supply-chain-related shortages of some tech goods leading to shipping delays and product scarcity.

Why it matters: Digital purchases of game downloads or App Store credits are quick and easy, so those who try it may never go back to physical gifts.

Driving the news: A global chip shortage is limiting production at the same time supply chains are creaking and straining due to the pandemic.

The combination of problems will mean limited supply of certain products.

  • Apple, for example, said that it had $6 billion in unfulfilled demand last quarter and expects that number to be even higher this quarter, with the iPad among products that will be in short supply.
  • Game consoles have been particularly hard to come by for many months, including the latest Xbox and PlayStation models, but also other devices, including the Nintendo Switch and Oculus Quest.
  • Toshiba, which supplies components to console makers, has warned the shortage could last until 2023 and Nintendo's president said Thursday it won't be able to meet holiday demand.

Online shopping has, of course, been popular for a long time. But even online retailers may struggle to get the physical goods people want this holiday season.

  • Digital goods, by contrast, are in infinite supply, avoiding the need to check multiple stores, wait for packages and other hassles. And there are more options than ever, ranging from games to video service subscriptions to credits for Roblox, Fortnite or the App Store.

Be smart: Downloadable games and online service subscriptions were already growing in popularity before the pandemic, so it may be hard to tell how much of the growth is due to the pandemic.

Yes, but: For those who prefer to give tech gifts that can be unwrapped and held, there's hope. Veteran retail analyst Stephen Baker of NPD Group says there should be ample supply of most products, as long as buyers can be flexible.

  • "Very specific items like game consoles or GPUs or maybe a phone are hard to get but almost everything else is plentiful," Baker said. "There are plenty of laptops, lots of TVs, (and) decent amount of tablets, gaming peripherals, monitors, and sound bars."
  • Prices, on the other hand, could be higher, with bargains harder to find.
  • Overall, NPD predicts spending on consumer technology (not counting phones and game consoles) will be up about 2% from last year's record-setting holiday season and roughly 18% above 2019.   

What they're saying: A quick, unscientific poll of my Twitter followers found about three-quarters of respondents were OK with the idea of getting digital presents, while a quarter thought such gifts were a sign of laziness.

  • A number of people told me that reports of looming shortages aren't making them think digital, but the shortage is making them buy presents sooner or consider more locally produced goods.
  • "The short supply on stuff this holiday season is making me plan more [in] advance and [be] more thoughtful to the gifts I am buying people," Microsoft senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc told me. While he has one friend who he might get an HBO Max subscription, he said the rest of his family and friends would likely not be big on digital gifts. "Especially my mom."

What's next: The new frontier of digital goods includes collectibles, like NFTs (non-fungible tokens) — as well as all those virtual outfits your avatar will need to be stylish in the coming metaverse.

Go deeper: The great holiday shortage

Go deeper

Retailers see upside to slower Cyber Monday

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

We found out today that this year’s biggest online shopping day was smaller than last year’s — and that’s OK. 

Why it matters: The pandemic pushed more people to shop more online more often, prompting companies to spread deals out throughout the year to attract those dollars. 

Spending on Cyber Monday falls 1.4%

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The verdict is in on Cyber Monday — the biggest online shopping day of the year — and consumers rendered a split decision. Spending for the day slid 1.4% versus 2020, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, as shoppers clicked less, but overall spending is up.

Why it matters: Supply chain disruption, pent-up pandemic demand and routines shaken up by remote work have all changed shopping habits. Industry observers say the way consumers shop now is another step in the transition to a new normal in retail.

Biden's supply chain offense heats up

President Biden meets with CEOs in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 29, 2021. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration’s supply chain offensive expanded yesterday, as the country entered the height of the holiday shopping season.

Catch up quick: The Federal Trade Commission launched a study into the role competition plays in supply chain issues and how those issues might cause consumer hardship.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!