TL; DR: Global semiconductor shortages have created a host of problems in several industries. From game consoles to PC hardware, new technology products have become notoriously hard to find. Even the latest laptops suffer from low inventory levels, a problem that is said to worsen as the number of shipments declines.
According to DigiTimes, which cites industry sources, shortages of display panels, LCD driver integrated circuits and passive components are expected to “dampen laptop shipments” in the first quarter of 2021.
In December, we learned that billboard shortages, caused by an earthquake in Taiwan and a power outage in Japan that halted production, could lead to lower inventory and higher prices for monitors, laptops and other devices with screens.
As Tom’s Hardware noted, shipments of laptops typically slow in the first quarter due to the Chinese New Year celebrations, which results in lower headcount at manufacturing plants. Sources said the companies plan to keep more standard production during the festivities to try and compensate for problems caused by component shortages, but that may not be enough.
Laptop makers are reportedly increasing their inventory levels in anticipation of shipping shortages. Lenovo, the world’s largest PC supplier, recently warned that its inventory has reached one-third of normal levels due to the pandemic and an increase in people working from home.
Cryptocurrency miners are buying RTX Ampere devices to avoid dealing with graphics card drought, which is expected to worsen.
The report should be taken with a pinch of salt, especially since DigiTimes recently predicted that strong demand resulting from the pandemic would cause laptop shipments to drop only 10% in the first quarter instead of 15-25. % usual. With countermeasures in place to address component shortages, shipments might not collapse too much.