Hardware Shortages Continue Amid Pandemic

When the pandemic hit and lockdowns were enforced, many people moved to working from home, including students.

Businesses and schools had to adapt to their new circumstances and embrace remote functionality to continue on.

So what does this have to do with a hardware shortage?

Many students were supplied Chromebooks by the school, and if they didn’t already have enough, schools suddenly needed devices for their student body.

And that’s on top of folks needing laptops to work from home. Everybody who didn’t already have a laptop suddenly needed one.

This demand continues to be a problem for manufacturers. Companies like HP and Dell, two of the three largest PC manufacturers (Lenovo being the third), have been reporting issues with PC parts.

When the pandemic first hit, there was a shortage of many components, but RAM stood out as one of the shortest supplies. Recently, CPUs and boards have had issues.

It’s difficult to adequately meet demand when your product is missing essential parts – but that demand is persistent and isn’t just going to go away while we’re still working and learning remotely. Much like the craze we’ve been seeing for recent video game consoles, devices are selling fast when they are available.

HP reports that its PC sales are up 7% annually overall with a 25% increase in notebook sales and a 31% decline in desktops. This is a good indicator that people are prioritizing being able to work anywhere, whether that’s the office or between different rooms at home.

HP also reported that their Chromebook sales more than doubled this year. The PCs and Chromebooks are flying off the shelf.

Dell reports 14% consumer revenue growth and 5% commercial. The commercial increase is directly related to government orders, as well as schools; those large orders for notebooks or Chromebooks pushed Dell’s commercial sales.

Dell also reported double-digit growth in major categories because of the need to work from home. They had four different models that exceeded the double-digit growth reported.
With all of the increase in sales, it is understandable that there is a shortage. It wasn’t only Dell and HP experiencing the shortage either.

High-end gaming PCs are becoming hard and harder to equip as the high-end equipment is also harder and harder to come by.

Companies like NVidia are struggling to keep GDDR6, the RAM used in video cards, readily available.

Nvidia also has a new desktop PC, which has been unavailable too. Along with AMD’s new RX6000, these items are not only out-of-stock, but are commanding a premium on the resale market.

Those who CAN get them are profiting off the demand (again, much like the people buying up and reselling PS5s and Xbox consoles).

Even Apple is having supply issues. It was reported that supplies are still low for Macbooks.

We’re seeing the pandemic’s impact in areas most people wouldn’t consider and watching it happen to companies we would expect to be invulnerable.

Things will eventually even out and stabilize, but until then, we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, just like everything else during this pandemic.