Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing
Shortages have become a very real part of 2021. Problems with the pandemic persist unevenly across the globe, throwing a wrench into the works of the global economy. As a result, many must-have gifts this holiday season are in short supply. 50% of people found wanted items out of stock, both in stores and online. Shopping windows are getting smaller and freight deliveries are taking longer. A notable example is the shipping time between China and the US, which is taking 83% longer than it did 2 years ago.
The technology industry has been hit especially hard by this problem. Most smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles are manufactured in Asia, but sending a 40-foot shipping container from Asia to the US costs almost 14 times what it did in 2019. Shipping things by air has always been more expensive than by water, but air cargo costs are also rising at alarming rates. Costs of shipping goods by air from Asia have risen 40% since the end of August.
Making the problem worse is the issue of computer chips. Only 1 in 8 of the world’s computer chips are manufactured in the US. Ongoing shortages of chips are making electronics of all types more expensive. A 30% chip cost increase is anticipated through 2022. The two complications combined mean tech products cost as much as $50 more per gadget. Even for people willing to pay the higher price, getting one’s hands on certain products will be a challenge for the rest of the year.
What can savvy shoppers do to secure tech products for their loved ones? The truth is, there are still gadgets on the shelves if one opens their mind to the possibility of gifting used technology. There are more than 120 million used smartphones available worldwide, many of which are already in North America. One doesn’t have to wait for a cargo ship to arrive from Asia to acquire one. Even for items in need of repair, many repairs can be completed in one day. Simple procedures like battery replacement can extend a gadget’s lifespan to 4 or 5 years. Unless the recipient is wedded to receiving the absolute newest model, most people’s technology needs can be fulfilled by a slightly older device. Repairing rather than replacing tech has the ability to save Americans more than $40 billion per year, or $330 per household. Avoid supply chains by repairing tech.
About the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on Linked