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Notebooks The Ongoing UK Laptop Supply/Demand Crisis (2020-10)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by boiled_elephant, 27 Oct 2020.

  1. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    As most of you probably don't know or care, I'm self-employed doing IT sales and repairs. Just repairs, now, as the refurb laptops I used to upgrade and resell from eBay and the like have become overpriced or unavailable due to the coronavirus lockdown and subsequent biblical increase in home working, homeschooling and general loafing about at home on top of that. This has also affected retail outlets, and the budget range of laptops in Argos/Currys/John Lewis has increased in price, spec for spec, by about £50-100. Supply has also become scarce. The cheapest models are frequently out of stock on a regional or national basis, often for weeks at a time.

    I no longer bother selling; repair work is enough for me. I never liked selling hardware much anyway. But I still get dozens of requests weekly for advice and recommendations on buying new laptops. I've written guides for my customers detailing what to buy and what to avoid, but they are still struggling to actually find what I recommend in stock anywhere, and when I go to look, so do I.

    This is just an appeal for wisdom or insight, if any of you know. Why is this shortage ongoing now that Chinese import trade is up and running again? How long is it likely to continue? And where on this good island does one still stand a chance of finding a budget laptop in stock?
     
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  2. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    The current trend will continue at least until the end of the year, maybe even to Q2/Q3 2021.

    There's a number of factors involved, some of these include:
    1) Traditionally containers of laptops were shipped by sea, this is now too slow to keep distribution in stock so they're coming in via air cargo, this is a lot more expensive and the costs are being passed on (you've probably seen the same with webcams & headsets).
    2) Increased demand - Demand has outstripped all predictions made for this year, all orders that were placed have already sold out and are now on new contracts (which means everybody has bumped up prices a bit).
    3) Businesses are buying more laptops. Businesses that traditionally bought desktops are now supplying laptops to staff. This demand is being fulfilled by removing allocations from the consumer market.
    4) Componant supply shortages - We already had shortages on a lot of components (Intel, I'm looking at you). This has stopped production ramping up.
    5) Greed - If people really need a laptop, they'll pay a bit more for it now that when they didn't need it quite as badly.

    The cheapest laptop we can buy trade is now around the £500 + VAT price, we used to be able to get budget machines starting at £300 + VAT (i3, 4GB, HDD type things)
     
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  3. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    [​IMG]

    At one point people were paying £50 for knock-off 480p Chinese no-brands. The horror...

    I'll have to just adjust peoples' expectations on price and aim towards £500. You always used to get a basic Pentium/4GB/120GB for about £300-350, those days seem to have gone. There's one Acer 15.6/Pentium/8GB/256GB for £350 on Argos, which is mental, but it is - of course - perpetually out of stock.

    What really makes me salty is I remember, circa 2015, there frequently being previous-generation i5 laptops with SSDs for about £350. Now it's Pentiums. Granted, the 2017/2018 Pentium is a lot better than the 2013/2014 Pentium, but it still feels like the whole industry is sliding backwards.
     
  4. adidan

    adidan Guesswork is still work

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    Holy moly I had no idea they'd gone crazy prices.

    The Ryzen 3500u/8gb/256gb nvme I got my OH less than a year ago is way overpriced now (picked it up for less than £350).
     
  5. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    On the plus side I found an old 720p Logitech webcam under the bed about 4 months ago, scratched to buggery and lacking any packaging. It cost me about £29.99 in May 2017 when my daughter went through a phase where she was obsessed with being a YouTuber, long since passed.

    Shoved it on eBay as an honest auction and it sold for £60. Ridiculous!
     
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  6. adidan

    adidan Guesswork is still work

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    Really? Think may have a random old webcam somewhere - that needs digging out.
     
  7. rollo

    rollo Well-Known Member

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    Working from home, meant a lot of laptops had to be purchased quickly by big business, and with working from home in the uk at least till April next year that’s not going to change

    home schooling also requires a laptop as the programs they use requires a windows desktop computer for the most part we have found.

    Demand is through the roof and supply is severely restricted at the moment.
     

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