The Potters' struggles in attack were again highlighted in a goalless draw with Cardiff at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday night in which their only shot on target came from a free-kick.
When Hughes replaced Tony Pulis in the summer he placed great emphasis on improving the side's ball retention and creating more opportunities, but they have managed only 12 goals in 14 Barclays Premier League matches.
Stoke thought they had already secured an extra striker for January when United States international Juan Agudelo signed a pre-contract agreement but he was refused a work permit, sending Hughes back to the drawing board.
The manager said: "It's an area we know we're a little bit short in and we need to try to improve that aspect of our play.
"We'll try to look at that in January if we can but it's not easy. You can get lucky and bring in a couple that can have a marked effect.
"We can't make mistakes, we've got to make sure it's the right players, and if they're not available then we might be better served keeping our money for the summer.
"We'll see what's out there, see if we've got the means to bring decent players in, but they need to be players that can come into our first XI and have an impact."
The draw at least helped both teams move further away from the relegation zone, with a four-point gap now separating the pair from the bottom three.