Inflation, supply chain issues, product shortages these are all real in the knife industry right now. And it’s axes as well as a lot of other associated items.
This past summer and fall there were price increases and delays in product shipments. In some instances we saw two price increases on the same product within a matter of a couple of months. Orders were in place with one of our US Axe manufacturers for 5 months with no indication when they would get produced. This morning I checked one of my main wholesalers inventory. They have a US made knife brand with over 650 SKU’s listed in the product line. A grand total of 5 were listed as in stock. FIVE out of 650.
Its a frustrating time for all of us. Doesn’t matter if you’re a consumer, retailer or manufacturer, its a tough situation. What’s really interesting is it doesn’t seem there’s any major shortage of cutlery from China.
Going into 2022 it doesn’t appear that there will be any relief coming soon. Inflation is here for the foreseeable future. I think we can safely assume the supply chain issues are too. We’ve seen the ammunition situation start to improve but there are still some major issues to overcome. Hunting season is past and we’re going into winter which is usually a slower sales time for ammo. Ammo prices have increased due primarily due to material and labor increases. We’ll see what spring brings.
The cutlery industry is a bit of a different animal. There’s always a demand increase for hunting knives in the fall but overall, demand stays pretty constant throughout the year. Collectors are always buying, knives are given as gifts and we can always use another one anytime of the year! As a result, the pressure never lets up to allow cutlery manufacturers to ‘catch up’. Plus we have the issue of raw material prices and labor costs constantly increasing.
So what do we do? If you see it and you like it….I’d suggest you buy it. Just based on what we’re seeing with the inflation situation. The odds of seeing prices come back down for commodity items like knives is somewhere between slim and none. I owned a brick and mortar retail sporting goods store back in the late 70’s and early 80’s when we saw rampant inflation. Other then oil and gas, I don’t recall product shortages to the extent we’re seeing them today. But interest rates went through the roof along with prices. When the interest rates came back down I don’t recall manufacturers rolling back prices.
One thing you can say, life is rarely boring! We just have to remember, gonna be a bit painful for a couple of years, but this too shall pass.