Supply chain issues mean you should start your holiday shopping now

Posted September 8, 2021 6:28 p.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2021 6:43 p.m. EDT

— Millions of things we use everyday — like cars, washing machines, smart phones, computers, cameras and televisions — use semiconductor technology, or, microchips.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the world's supply chain, making semiconductors harder to find.

The shortage snowballed because microchip makers scaled down production early in the pandemic, expecting demand to plummet. But what they saw was that more people were stuck at home and spending money on electronics. Now, there's not enough chips to go around, leading to a rise in prices and shrinking supplies.

Robert Handfield, a supply chain expert at North Carolina State University, said that supply chain issues related to computer chips will likely cause problems into next year.

You could wait months to get an electronic item you are looking for. That's why experts say you should do your holiday shopping early this year.

"If you see what you want now and you’re thinking forward to Christmas, it might not be a bad time to buy it," Handfield said.

Smart applications, like fridges with cameras, WiFi enabled wine dispensers and high-tech coffee makers are in short supply right now.

Terri Beardslee, showroom manager at Distinctive Kitchen and Appliance World in Raleigh is warning her customers they're going to have to wait to get a smart appliances because of a chip shortage.

"Backorders started moving back a month at a time, a couple months at a time, and now we have backorders into August of next year," she said.

The owner of Intrex Computers in Raleigh said that microchips are taking 3 to 4 weeks to arrive, which is hurting many businesses.

He said the shortage is causing a price surge for some high-end graphics cards for gaming systems. Ones that used to cost $500 are now going for $900 to $1,100.

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