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Much Ado About Price Increases

What a wild couple of years, huh? And I know you don’t want to hear it, but unfortunately things are going to get worse before they get better. 

Great, isn’t it?

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but one of the many side effects of a global pandemic is rising costs. Economists observed in the wild say a healthy inflation rate is 2-2.5%, but over the last year- year-and-a-half we’ve seen an average inflation rate of 5% with some markets seeing much, much higher markups. If you want to sell your car, now is the time; the price of used cars is up an average of 29.7%.

At the beginning of 2020, when we were all shut up in our houses, we wanted things to do, so the online shopping sector went bonkers. COVID restrictions meant there were fewer people working, and that meant things were slower, which increased wait times, which increased demand, which increased wait times again, ad infinitum until the price of a sea-can to ship products from overseas shot up to 20k and here we are. 

With the introduction of the vaccine and fluctuating restrictions, we’re all wanting to get out of the house and do things. Remember things? I miss things.

Really, can anyone blame us? Most of us are back to the workplace, business as usual, but going out to catch a movie or have a nice meal still feels strange. Cabin fever is real, and I think it’s safe to say a lot of us have it. What better cure than putting a roof rack and Treeline rooftop tent on your car and driving out to the woods for the week?

But the industry - all of them - is still dealing with shortages. Labour shortages, vehicle shortages, raw material shortages. Our stuff requires a lot of stuff to get from a fancy rock in the ground to our door in a neat little Amazon box, and it’s a much more delicate web we’ve woven around the globe than we like to think it is.

The short answer to why prices are climbing is that the supply chain is deeply snarled, and demand is higher than supply. And worse, not even in a predictable way! There is a global nylon shortage, of all things. Do you know what things have nylon in them? Many things, evidently. 

Maxtrax, you know, a company that makes products that help you get your vehicle out of the snow, sand, mud, the driveway of your family cabin that should’ve been redone five years ago but no one bothered to because “what are the odds someone will get stuck”? They struggled to produce inventory for a lot of the summer, and have only recently begun taking orders again. Mired in the muck in the woods? Good luck!

Prices aren’t showing any sign of going back to pre-pandemic prices anytime soon. In the world of overlanding, we’ve seen multiple price hikes from our suppliers this year alone, with more on the horizon. 

In the process of writing this post, I put together a list of brands that hadn’t gone up in price since the year began. By the time I was halfway through my rough draft, they’d all gone up. That’s how quickly these price changes are going out.

Usually the recommended modus operandi is waiting for the thing you want to go on sale, but that stratagem is biting people where the sun don’t shine this year. There’s no way to tell when - or even if - prices are going to return to palatable levels.

This, tragically, means that that bike rack that’s been sitting in your cart for a month and a half is just going to get more expensive.

How you want to take that information is totally up to you, but I know I’ll be buying Christmas presents early this year!