Gadgets

The Tech Gifts That Are Hard to Buy This Holiday Season – The New York Times

Summary

It’s that time of the year when our inboxes are flooded with discounts galore for Black Friday, Cyber Week and all the sales promotions that follow.

But this year, we’re in a unique situation. We’re living in an era of scarcity driven by a global chip shortage, widespread unemployment and the effects of government-imposed lockdowns that were meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. That has disrupted global suppl…….

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It’s that time of the year when our inboxes are flooded with discounts galore for Black Friday, Cyber Week and all the sales promotions that follow.

But this year, we’re in a unique situation. We’re living in an era of scarcity driven by a global chip shortage, widespread unemployment and the effects of government-imposed lockdowns that were meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. That has disrupted global supply chains, made manufacturing difficult and snarled the shipping of items around the world.

That’s now affecting the types of tech products we can obtain for our loved ones this holiday season. Gaming devices like the PlayStation and Xbox consoles, which have been in a perpetual shortage for the last year, will continue to be a challenge to find. And the list of hard-to-get items has grown even longer, encompassing Wi-Fi routers, cheap laptops and audio gear.

Shoppers looking to buy consumer electronics will have to change their game plan. The biggest takeaway? Don’t wait until Black Friday.

“Buy early,” said Patrick Moorhead, chief executive of Moor Insights, a tech research firm. “Make the decision between saving a little money or not getting the product at all.”

Here’s a guide to the consumer electronics that will be difficult to find this year.

Let’s start with some of the most desirable and hardest-to-buy tech products: Sony’s PlayStation 5, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Nintendo’s new Switch, which have been virtually impossible to find on store shelves in the last year.

Historically, some console makers have limited the production of the machines to help build excitement for the products, gaming analysts said. But the chip shortage — and the heightened demand for gaming devices as many people were stuck at home in the pandemic — has exacerbated the dearth.

Many big-box retailers sell the new consoles exclusively online, and when new PlayStation, Xbox and Switch consoles appear, they sell out within minutes. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have warned that the chip shortage could lead to supply constraints through 2022.

The chip shortage and overwhelming demand for gaming products have also led to perpetual scarcity of high-end graphics cards, which people use to upgrade their computers to run more powerful games, Mr. Moorhead said.

The game plan? Consider automation. Millions are following Twitter accounts that scan retail sites and tweet as soon as game consoles and graphics cards are back in stock. You can set up your Twitter apps to send a notification to your phone as soon as …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/17/technology/personaltech/chip-gaming-device-shortage.html