HOUSTON – The national fireworks shortage is no joke, all thanks to shipping container delays in China and elsewhere, according to distributors. The result? Fewer fireworks and higher prices.
Americans spent nearly $2 billion on fireworks last year, and this year, demand is even higher.
“We’ve talked to some of the out-of-state vendors that opened before Texas, and they tell me they’re up 400% from last year,” said Richard Fallin, owner of Top Dog fireworks. “That’s huge. That is going to exacerbate the shortage more than we were expecting, but we have a lot of stock, and we were able to get a lot of things because … we’re the biggest vendor in Harris County.”
According to Fallin, the fireworks are taking much longer to ship because they are in containers that are stuck off the coast of California, in Egypt or even in China, where most of the fireworks are made.
With today marking the first day of firework sales ahead of the July 4th holiday, customers showed up hours early to stock up.
One shopper at Elite Fireworks said he’s had a hard time trying to buy fireworks since New Year, but he has been able to find what he needs at the Katy shop.
“This place had a great selection; the best selection you are going to find on artillery shells.” the man said. “The brothers (who) own this are real good people. The prices are real good and there is no shortage.”
Fireworks, like a lot of American staples, are made in China and shipping delays mean a fireworks shortage here.
“In China, a lot of manufacturers ...were shut down because they needed to get reinspected and get licensed again because of those deaths in one of the factories,” one owner said.
He continues on to say people in Dallas, and even as far as Arkansas who can’t find what they want, are coming to shop at their store for their prices and selection.
“Our case pricing ... is 20 to 30% off retail, but bundles are the way to go right now,” he said. “(They’re at) our lowest prices ever.”
Fireworks prices are up nationally as high as 30%. It is expected that some stands and supercenters will run out this year far sooner than usual.
Elite Fireworks will match any coupon from other fireworks distributors. Top Dog in Harris County is offering 20% off all fireworks for the first several days.
People are advised to not wait until the last minute to get their fireworks as vendors may sell out more quickly than usual.