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'Everything is going up' | Cost increases, supply challenges impacting Mid-South electronics companies

Fewer products are in stock ahead of holiday demand, and experts are warning about strain on hot ticket electronic items on wish lists.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — A longtime Memphis electronics company is warning holiday shoppers about the impact the global supply crisis could have on fulfilling holiday wish lists, especially the hottest gadgets.

Fewer supplies mixed with higher demand are driving up costs and slowing down production ahead of busy shopping weeks.

That includes at Bluff City Electronics, founded in 1938. There, whether it's cords for sale up front or larger boxes in back of the warehouse, products on hand are much less predictable these days.

"We don't really see any relief in sight. We are projecting it probably won't be until the third quarter of (2022)," Bluff City Electronics President Alfred Cowles said.

Cowles' grandfather founded the company, which now specializes in wireless products, security systems, and industrial automation parts.

Cowles said he couldn't remember a time when it was so challenging just to have certain things in stock.

"We actually have probably close to $3 million worth of back orders and some of that has been out for seven or more months already," Cowles added.

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Cowles said a lower amount of products available is causing unprecedented cost spikes along the supply chain.

"What used to be two and three percent, we are talking about 8% to 12% in a lot of cases, and they are happening every 60 days," Cowles said. "It gets passed all the way through just like ours does. We pass it on to our customers and they in turn pass it to theirs."

The electronics supply crunch comes ahead of holiday demand for all things electronics, with wires or wireless.

Cowles offered advice - and caution - to area shoppers.

"I would say get it done early, start now, don't wait," Cowles said. "I think you'll be able to find products but it may be not the specific one you are looking for."

Industry experts believe - based on their production overseas in Asia and reliance on computer chips, gaming consoles, laptops, and wireless headphones could be especially challenging to find during the holidays.

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