July 4th Fireworks More Scarce and Expensive This Year

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Ahead of the 4th of July celebrations in the U.S., fireworks will be scarce and 15% to 20% more expensive after solid sales last year. Alan Zoldan, executive vice president of Phantom Fireworks told CNN: “If you pay the same amount, you will get less. I have no doubt.”

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Consumers are encouraged to hit the streets and stock up early as shelves are likely to be empty before the weekend.

July 4th fireworks shortage for upcoming celebrations

According to Stephen Pelkey, CEO of Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, those looking to purchase fireworks for July 4th or any other upcoming celebrations involving pyrotechnics, should stock up.

“The only way to get around [the shortages] is if you're going to need fireworks for the 4th of July, buy it early… if you're going to need fireworks in August or September, buy it now; because there may not be those items or even any of the particular items that you're really interested in.”

Pelkey told Yahoo Finance that the fireworks business had a record increase in consumer sales last year, nearly doubling from $900 million in 2019 to $1.8 billion in 2020. “So naturally, you're going to have a disruption of having a lot of those companies try to resupply at those levels,” he said.

China’s logistics problem

The dip in shipments from China related to COVID-19 restrictions has affected the firework supply chain. The enormous container pileup reported two weeks ago in the ports of Yantian, Guangdong like Shekou, Chiwan, and Nansha –the fourth and fifth largest container ports in the world, respectively– is likely to affect the summer’s shopping season.

Zoldan asserts that the port congestion in the country is a “very, very narrow bottleneck,” as the reactivation of the economy has also dealt a big blow in a sector grappling with the growing demand.

Pelkey agrees: “With the continuing ongoing global shutdown and having probably only about 70% of the ships in operation, the ports just aren’t able to handle [this level of operation] because globally, you just don't have a lot of this infrastructure that is completely back in service.”

For Pelkey, the situation in China exerts enormous pressure prompting most retailers to inject the higher supply costs into all their product lines, as some commodities cannot absorb increases that go up to 50% and 60%.