IKEA is experiencing product shortages on both sides of the Atlantic, with some product lines out of stock. Some shoppers, especially those based in the UK, may have noticed a low availability of mattresses. Meanwhile, on its US website, Ikea advises that 'due to system updates and high demand, there is a chance an item with low stock may not be available for purchase.'
IKEA has been a worldwide favorite for affordable and durable furniture for decades, and IKEA hacks are increasingly used by savvy home decorators for achieving stylish look for less. What is happening to the flatpack giant's supply chains?
IKEA product shortages in the US
On its US website, IKEA simply refers to 'supply delays due to COVID-19' as the reason for any product availability disruptions. Specifically, in the US there is a significant problem with major ports being overwhelmed by large amounts of cargo coming in, to the points where, as an article (opens in new tab) in Bloomberg puts it, there are 'queues of anchored ships and yards of containers piled as high as local fire departments will allow.'
This is a structural problem that has been really exposed by the increased amount of goods being shipped during the pandemic as consumer demand soars. IKEA is looking for road solutions to this problem of sea cargo, explaining that 'we will use rail transport from China to Europe to free up container capacity that we can use to ship more to US.'
IKEA product shortages in the UK
In the UK, the problem is similarly linked to transportation, but the exact reason is quite different. The UK is experiencing a severe shortage of lorry drivers which has been affected everything from medical supplies to food supplies. IKEA has been affected substantially, with product shortages affecting approximately 1,000 of the company's lines, or 10 per cent of its stock.
IKEA told the BBC: 'What we are seeing is a perfect storm of issues, including the disruption of global trade flows and a shortage of drivers, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic and Brexit.'
The retailer giant's apology came with the hope that the situation will improve 'in the coming weeks and months.' For the time being, you may have to look for the best mattress elsewhere.