Shipping issues, record-breaking demand cause nationwide fireworks shortage

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 6:00 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - We’ve seen the pandemic cause shortages of lumber, fruit trees, chlorine and now can add fireworks to the list. A shortage that’s happening after a year of record-breaking fireworks sales.

“Now all those people who fell in love with consumer fireworks are going to go back to their place and find a much more limited selection which is sad,” said Steve Houser, the president of the National Fireworks Association.

Houser said the shortage is caused by a combination of issues that stem back to COVID-19.

“The global transportation system is really in a wreck. Ports are backed up and ships aren’t moving the way they should. How is that going to impact the Fourth of July? Yes, a lot of people are going to be let down,” he said.

The cost of shipping is skyrocketing for fireworks wholesalers.

“Almost triple what they used to be,” Houser said. “It’s almost costing somebody like me more to import the product than the actual product is costing.”

A cost that can trickle down to the consumer. He said without a seller absorbing some of the price spikes, a firework that was $30 last year may have a $50 price tag this year. Best Fireworks Stores, which sells nationwide, said the shortage is causing serious delays. Some customers who made online orders may not receive their fireworks until after the Fourth of July.

The shortage is occurring at a time of increased demand. The American Pyrotechnics Association said last year the fireworks industry saw the highest consumer revenue in 20 years bringing in $1.9 billion.

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