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If you struggled to find a laptop during the pandemic, there’s now a glimmer of hope

You still can’t find a GPU for love or money though…

kid on laptop
Image: Unsplash

Bloomberg has some good news for anyone who needs to shop for a personal computer for school or work this year. Signs in both the supply chain and market indicate that the unprecedented demand for things like laptops is slacking off, so you might have an easier time finding one on the shelves this fall.

They cite multiple sources, like an executive at Micron Technology who noted last week at an investor conference that “demand for consumer PCs is slowing and that some of its customers have more chips laying around.” Analysts at Morgan Stanley also see rising PC inventory and think that the smartphone market is also going to start having a slowdown in sales.

The associated peripherals market is also slowing down. Netgear had a disappointing quarter for consumer networking sales, and webcams are finally on shelves at MSRP.

The thing is, I’m not entirely sure I agree with Bloomberg’s opinion here. Acer, one of the larger laptop manufacturers, says they can only fill “50% of the worldwide demand” currently, and they don’t see the situation changing until at least the first quarter of 2022.

Even if you could find them on shelves, prices are going to be higher than last year as well. HP has increased consumer PC prices by 8% this year on average, and printer prices by 20%. Laptops from other manufacturers have also increased pricing to similar levels.

That situation isn’t going away any time soon and is more likely to become worse. Electronics components are often priced in long-term contracts, so any increases in cost end up being swallowed by the manufacturer until those contracts can be renegotiated.

The upshot? You might be able to find laptops on the shelves, but expect them to be more expensive.

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