As you’ve probably noticed, there is a massive sparkler shortage happening in the United Sates right now. It first started with specialty items like wedding sparklers, but quickly spread to products of all varieties. In fact, the entire fireworks industry is basically on hold as extreme demand, supply chain issues, and rising costs are crippling traditional infrastructure.
As you read this, you’re probably wondering why our website still has the most popular items in stock. As the world’s largest sparkler retailer, we have more connections and suppliers at our disposal than any other company. However, acquiring our current supply doesn’t come easy or cheap; as you’ve likely noticed in the pricing. We’ve had several customers ask what the deal is, and I just wanted to take a moment to set the record straight. So, I’ve written this post explaining the sparkler shortage to explore the myriad reasons it’s occurring and its lasting effects on the industry. Hopefully, this will clear the air and give you insight into the current dilemma so many companies are facing.
Extreme Demand is Leading the Sparkler Shortage
First off, there is a huge demand boom for anything related to weddings; especially items that promote social distancing. After the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing at weddings became as normal as wearing a white dress. Furthermore, almost every wedding was cancelled in 2020 as part of slowing the spread of this deadly disease. Why does that matter? Because it means that there is double the number of celebrations taking place in 2021. With so many people playing “catch up”, there is twice the demand that you would see in a regular year.
Additionally, the pandemic gave all of those couples a lot more time to research ideas on social media platforms like Pinterest and the like. With so many more brides becoming aware of how amazing sparklers can be at a wedding, it’s created additional stress on the system. In short, when you have three times as many interested people, there are simply fewer products to be had.
Supply Chain Issues
Besides the crazy amount of demand, there is another major problem lurking; supply chain issues. This is a universal problem in all industries as both labor shortages and delays wreak havoc. As you probably know, literally all sparklers are manufactured in China. Sadly, China was hit really hard by COVID-19 and shipments are backed up for several months. Additionally, there are only a limited number of ports in the United States. So, cargo ships are literally lined up for weeks in anchorages waiting for their turn. Moreover, those shipping containers still need to be loaded on to rail cars and trucks after they finally do reach port. It’s easy to see how this problem quickly spiraled out of control and has led to a widespread sparkler shortage.
Probably the most noticeable effect for most families recently is the out of control inflation problem. According to many economists, inflation will top out at over 10% this year alone. The average family can expect to pay around $175 per month more for basic necessities. However, it has affected much more than just that. Overall, most retailers have endured around 25% costs increase for all retail merchandise currently for sale. Beyond that, President Trump imposed additional tax penalties for importing from China that are driving prices even higher.
Moreover, the cost of shipping a container from overseas has nearly quadrupled to roughly $40,000! When you’re dealing with an “inexpensive” item such as wedding sparklers, that can easily double your product costs. To stay above water, most retailers have needed to raise their prices dramatically. Sadly, it also means many of the smaller companies are simply priced out of the market because the overhead is far too high. With fewer companies importing and growing demand, it creates a massive bottle neck; and ultimately creates a massive sparkler shortage. Though the top companies are trying to compensate, the supply chain issues are making it nearly impossible to keep up.
Which Products is the Shortage of Sparklers Affecting?
If you’ve browsed through a few different websites, you’ll quickly see that nearly everyone is out of certain products. Overall, the most popular size for weddings is 36 inch sparklers; so they have vanished from everyone’s inventory in a hurry. However, the lasting effect of this shortage has quickly bled into almost every size on the market, most notably 20 inch wedding sparklers. In fact, we are currently the only company in the United States with either size in stock. This is due to us being the largest retailer with more durable resources and well-timed order placement from our top-notch team. Hopefully, we can keep the warehouse stocked to serve the demand; but it gets more difficult as the problem chugs on.
Which Products is the Sparkler Shortage Not Affecting?
Fortunately, there are some products that are not flying off the shelf at record numbers for many of the suppliers in the country. For nightclubs or wedding planners, there are plenty of bottle sparklers to handle the current demand. Similarly, color versions and specialty items are weathering the storm better than some items. However, many of them are less desirable than the traditional sparklers most brides want for their send-off experience. Nevertheless, if you can be flexible with your presentation, there are easier to find and more affordable options to serve your needs.
Alternatives that are Easier to Find and are More Affordable
Many people are on the hunt for alternatives to sparklers that are easier to find and more affordable. Fortunately, there are several great options available to meet anyone’s budget. First, you can consider simplifying things and making a replacement yourself. Options include bubbles, ribbon wands, or homemade confetti shooters. If you’re less concerned about price, consider choosing a less traditional option like LED sparklers that are readily available and create a cool effect. With some creativity, you can easily avoid delays and save money while still achieving a very cool presentation.
When Will the Sparkler Shortage End?
Sadly, there is no set date for when supply chain issues and demand will return to normal. It all depends on whether or not we can keep the COVID-19 pandemic at bay and how quickly we can catch up on the backlog of anchored ships waiting to get into port. Additionally, demand is still expected to be elevated next year as people are still catching up on missed weddings. However, I am personally confidant that the worst should be over by early next year. Lastly, we have done everything we can to ensure we can continue to serve this demand until the market becomes more normalized. Currently, we should have enough product to outlast this shortage of sparklers and another shipment is currently on the way.
We are proud to be able to serve couples in this time of high demand, and look forward to serving the industry for many years to come. Good luck and we hope to continue earning your business; one wedding at a time.