We’re well and truly into the digital age, which means that people probably don’t want to hear about PC shortages – but they are happening! The computer shortage is something that has been slowly happening over the last few months and there are some experts who say that it isn’t something that is going to change any time soon.

If you’re sitting thinking you’re safe because you don’t own a personal computer it is worth considering that lots of our electronic devices contain computer chips and many of our day to day activities rely on electronics in a way; even something as basic as buying bread from the shop.

What’s Been Happening?

Over recent months, a number of manufacturers around the globe have reported that they have been unable to get hold of some of the supplies they need. Semiconductors seem to be the hardest thing to get hold of. This is causing a big delay in being able to produce a large number of electronic items and as a result of this delivery of new electronics is starting to become severely delayed. 

Although there are some people that would be happy to wait for a new smartphone or delay upgrading their car, semiconductors are actually present in more products than you would imagine. If big companies need these for their manufacturing to continue, they may well be tempted to pay more money for them which will result in price increases for consumers later down the production line.

What Caused The Supply Shortages?

Depending on who you speak to, there are different theories as to what has caused this breakdown in the supply chain and the significant delays many industries are facing.

  • Coronavirus – Of course, you can’t talk about a worldwide global issue without recognising that a global pandemic will have had some effect. Not only has Coronavirus affected how much money companies have and sent many places into a recession, but it has also had an effect on supply chains and how quickly things can be made.  For example, in the UK lots of industries were forced to close, especially those that were deemed non-essential. This is something that was echoed throughout the world and as such is bound to have affected the supply chain involved in getting semiconductors made and to where they need to be.
  • Cryptocurrency – Over the last 12 months, the popularity of cryptocurrency has increased. This is largely down to Bitcoin and other digital currency options becoming more mainstream. However, it takes massive computer power to mine for these new currencies and as such; a big chunk of electronics could have been snapped up to help power servers to make this happen.  There has been some talk over recent weeks on the environmental impact that digital currency may have and now it is thought that it could also be the cause of the delay in being able to source semiconductors.

There are other theories as to what may have caused the shortage – the US certainly hasn’t made trade with Chinese technology companies the easiest and we have seen some extreme weather over recent weeks will have definitely resulted in delays of packages getting to where they need to be.

What Has Been Affected?

At the moment, it can feel like you’ve got a better chance of winning one of the jackpots mentioned at www.gamblingdeals.com than getting your hands on a semiconductor, but for the everyday person on the street – what does that mean?

Most people won’t even know how many semiconductors they use in a day or which of their devices requires one. However, when you consider that an average car has up to 150 chips, it is easy to see how we may be affected. Last year, carmakers across the globe were forced to close their factories due to the pandemic and as such, the people that produced semiconductors at this time redirected their supply to manufacturers of smart devices; which were in high demand at the time.

However, we then saw the sale of cars bounce back quicker than expected; and as such, they ramped up how many cars they were making – but the suppliers of semiconductors couldn’t keep up. At the start of the year, many large car manufacturers have had to stop what they are making or adapt the way things are made to make up for this. 

What Happens Next?

There are different theories as to what may happen next, as some experts predict that this shortage is likely to continue until the end of the year. If this is the case then it is likely that car production alone will be reduced by over 1 million; which will, in turn, increase the cost of 2nd hand cars. 

Analysts at Goldman Sachs have estimated that certain electrical products could increase in price by between 1 and 3%. This is likely to be in the motor and consumer electronics industries where prices are sensitive. However, keen for the supply issue not to be one that is on-going long-term, Intel are talking to the people that design chips to see if they can step up and help with making chips in their factories. It is hoped that a deal could be made before the end of the year and as such, this would help with the supply chain issues.

Whether the issue is down to the pandemic, the increase in interest in digital currency, bad weather or a combination of all three is something that many people have differing opinions on. One thing for sure is that it has been a sustained issue for a number of months and is not something that is likely to change any time soon, not without some intervention from places like Intel. If you are looking to invest in a new car or a large electronic device sometime in the near future it is worth looking at this in advance to make sure that you don’t miss out by leaving it too late.

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