Body pillows, especially those featuring anime characters, are the latest item to feel the pinch as unprecedented consumer demand and the ongoing pandemic continues to stress existing supply chains. Shortages have been reported among nearly all suppliers with delays and backorders expected to extend through the first half of 2022.
The crisis could not have come at a worse time. At the end of the year, many consumers, especially those who are single, begin looking for some form of companionship to make it through the holidays. The conclusion of the Fall anime season around the same time also leads to fans clamoring for goods of their newly discovered favorite characters.
The chaos has left suppliers scrambling to keep up with estimates showing less than a quarter of all body pillow orders being able to be delivered by Christmas. Such delays are expected to only exacerbate mental health issues as many find themselves to be truly alone this holiday season.
“This past year and half has been particularly difficult for many individuals,” clinical psychologist Dr. Robert Philman told Anime Maru. “Many could really use a hug right now. However, you cannot hug yourself. It just doesn’t feel the same. Believe me I’ve tried. A companion-sized pillow can be very beneficial when human contact feels just out of reach.”
Mental health experts warn that the shortage could lead to people seeking out other substitutes that could end up making them only feeling worse, such as playing League of Legends. Despite the desperate circumstances, looking for previously owned pillows as an alternative to new is not recommended due to sanitary concerns.
FedEx and UPS have both committed to extending their services throughout the holiday season in an attempt to alleviate some of the shipping backlog. Both couriers recommend having any parcels containing body pillows be clearly labeled in order to prevent them from being mistaken for disposable packing material.