CHAGRIN FALLS, OHIO (WJW) – With holiday shopping now in full swing, toy industry insiders said business recovered from shipping delays and a toy shortage crisis that plagued last holiday season.

“From the shipping crisis standpoint 2022 is exactly the opposite of 2021,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Toy Association. “The shipping lanes are open, things are arriving, rail strike has been averted.”

The toy industry is on the rebound, Pasierb said with local stores feeling the momentum as well. The shelves are stocked at the newest location of Off the Wagon in Chagrin Falls open since 2021.

“We’ve had a huge increase I would say at least 30 percent up from where we were last year,” said store manager Amber Dean. “This season’s been a lot better. We haven’t had as many delays. We haven’t had the days where we get nothing shipped and then all of a sudden, we get 52 boxes.”

Pasierb said this holiday shopping season is off to a strong start with 12 percent growth in holiday sales in addition to bargains shoppers have not seen since the start of the pandemic.

“In the heart of the shipping crisis there was really no compelling reason for a retailer to put things on sale,” said Pasierb. “It was hard to find what you were looking for, there were empty spots on the shelves. Sales that we expected…didn’t really happen the last couple of years.”

There is a grinch this shopping season, inflation. Although it has not hit the toy industry as hard as others, prices increased up to 5 percent Pasierb said.

“The nature of the toy industry is the toys that are pretty much in stores for this holiday season those deals were struck 12, 16, 18 months ago,” he said. “So, what a retailer is going to pay for a product is pretty much fixed.”

Dean said prices due to inflation fluctuated a bit more.

“Anywhere between five and like 12 percent of an increase,” she said. “Some vendors we’re getting like weekly price changes and then some we’ve only had like one or two this year.”

Buyers are advised to purchase the big-ticket toys kids have their hearts set on sooner rather than later. For those smaller items, Pasierb said to wait to purchase, when deals get better closer to the holidays.

“Parents don’t tend to scrimp on their kids,” said Pasierb. “They want to have presents under the tree, they want to have Hanukkah or Kwanzaa presents…the supply of toys in stores, the ability to find what you’re looking for is exactly where it should be for the holiday season.”