I’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating – the chip shortage will not wrap up anytime soon, with all major players like Nvidia, Intel and Toshiba predicting shortages lasting well into 2022 if not into 2023. Seeing as semiconductors are in everything from autos to Zambonis and everything between, production has slowed if not halted in most major industries on manufacturing and delivering goods. Couple this with the major supply chain issues we are also facing world-wide and it’s a safe bet that your holiday shopping (or end-of-year budget spend-down) may be pinched by a Grinch that won’t be stopped by seasonal vibes.
What this means for you
All the more reason to get out there on Black Friday or Cyber Monday to do some shopping now, right? Don’t think it Scrooge-ish of me if I offer some words of caution when you brave the crowds (or virtual queues) in search of technology deals. I’m certain there will be good deals to be found on both fated days. Retailers are up against shortages, inflation and the pandemic – they will likely not pull any punches to wash the red out of their ledgers this year, but it’s not like the chip shortage or the pandemic is something new. The most sought-after holiday gifts are typically technology items, and things like the latest generation of video consoles have been notoriously hard to find since their launch, especially since the internet and online shopping has made scalping an extremely profitable side hustle. Retailers are barely able to keep stock on hand for the high-demand items, and even the less-popular stuff is selling because there is literally nothing else to buy. This goes for work technology items as well. Our wholesale sources are getting down into single-digit availability on the core workplace desktops, laptops and printers, and they are even selling out of the models we normally avoid recommending because of sub-par performance or quality issues.
This brings me to my warning: Beware of buying something – whether for entertainment or work – just because it’s available and “on sale”, especially If you haven’t done the research on it. We are in the most scarce technology market I’ve seen in my professional lifetime, but I don’t think we are at the point of choosing “any port in a storm” just yet. Do you really need a slightly bigger flat screen or slightly faster smartphone, or could you scrape a few more months out of a working device that is in your hands right now. If you need additional equipment because you are expanding or hiring, buying something on discount that you might not have normally purchased may not be optimal use of your resources. Definitely get into the spirit of the holidays, but don’t let FOMO of Black Friday impair your judgement! We’ve found that retailers know that people are in the buying mood, and the deals aren’t necessarily any better than what you might find throughout the year, and given that we know the good stuff is already in short supply, the deals might be more glitter than gold.
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
Another week and more bad news. Most of the world’s technology relies on several key chip manufacturers that are located in Asia, and in case you hadn’t heard, they were rocked by the Pandemic fairly early on in 2020. This has created a massive shortfall in semiconductor production which, when coupled with the spike in demand for technology to move a large chunk of the world’s workforce and students home, has manifested as a serious supply-chain choke-point that is resulting in empty shelves and shipping delays for just about anything with a computer chip in it.
What this means for you
Depending on what you are shopping for, you might be thinking, “What shortage? I can walk into my neighborhood big box and buy a computer right now!” Absolutely this is true, but even those supplies are dwindling. For anyone looking purchase what we call “business-class” or “enterprise-grade” equipment, we are seeing backorders between three to four weeks and certain models are out of stock through the end of the year as wholesalers and manufactures sell out of their standing, domestic stock. Computers aren’t the only thing impacted: this shortage is affecting everything from videogame consoles to new cars to medical equipment to smart phones
Industry analysts are predicting this supply-chain shortage will last well into 2022, and it will likely make the upcoming holidays a little challenging if you were planning to make up for last year’s sober shortages in the usually red-hot electronics and videogame markets. Scalpers are still showing no mercy, and the chip shortages won’t be helping us battle their profiteering. Long story short – make sure to include a multi-week delay in shipping if need new technology. Take good care of your existing equipment as it may hard to replace or repair for the next 6-8 months, minimum.
Image by Dan Williams from Pixabay