The advent of circuitry has allowed us to create and develop complex electrical systems and gadgets. Made from thousands of small parts, silicone, and conductive materials, it drives much of today’s tech devices.
This creates a serious problem, though. Technology has advanced at such a blistering pace that the world relies on having enough components to drive the machine. A global shortage of a crucial ingredient is now threatening certain devices.
The pandemic has delayed the production of semiconductors, causing a shortage of new devices. Used in almost anything with a circuit board and chips, the shortage is halting the production of certain consumer tech gadgets. While you can still find some quality products on sale, here are things to buy before they get too expensive.
1. Mobile phones
The global shortage will affect companies and industries differently. If chips and semiconductors can’t be made, it slows down the entire production chain. Highly reliant on these parts are mobile phones.
A major supplier of semiconductors is Qualcomm. The company recently warned that production would have been more if supplies weren’t stretched thin. Apple has been making fewer iPads and Mac computers, which could cost it as much as $4 billion in sales.
Samsung, on the other hand, has seen sales of mobile display panels dwindle. Producing enough panels for the market, sales are impacted as mobile manufacturers can’t get chips for their devices. This has led to mobile device makers cutting down on production.
What to buy: If you have been thinking of buying a new mobile phone, now would be the right time. The stock on shelves is in limited supply, with no indication on when it will be fully replenished. Android phones are harder hit than Apple, but even so, prices will be higher than normal to make up for lost sales and profit.
2. Gaming consoles and computers
There are very few components in a desktop computer or laptop that don’t use a chip or semiconductor of some kind. CPUs, graphics cards and motherboards have all been affected by the shortage.
Trying to get your hands on a new graphics card for a decent price is going to be tough. Manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD get priority supply from chipmakers, driving up the price of once-affordable cards. This also creates a knock-on effect for other companies who aren’t as high up the chain.
What to buy: Microsoft and Sony respectively released their new gaming consoles some time ago. Thankfully this hasn’t been impacted by the shortage for now, but it can create a bottleneck in the next few months.
Both companies rely on Nvidia or AMD for graphics cards and will be prioritized over single sales of cards. Snapping up a computer graphics card now would be a good move if you can find one.
3. Household electronics
You might not have noticed that many everyday items have chips or semiconductors inside them. Things like smart lights and switches, fridges, microwaves and even vacuum cleaners rely on the intricate circuitry to continue functioning.
Unfortunately, the global chip shortage has been trickling down to household appliances as well. When the pandemic struck, big corporations snapped up all the chips to produce electronics for working from home. This left smaller appliances without the much-needed components.
According to analysts, some companies focused on making high-end chips instead of diversifying with low-tech chips. This further compounded the problem for appliances and smaller electronics.
What to buy: the bottom line for the global chip shortage is if you need something, buy it now while you still can. With no solution yet, supplies might run out before enough new products can be made. Thankfully, many stores keep enough stock to last a while, but those can also see price increases to offset losses eleswhere.