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Shortage of laptops and PC components won’t be cleared until 2022

This year saw a large boom in sales of laptop and desktop computers, and many hardware manufacturers are still months behind fulfilling their orders and not expected to clear the backlog until 2022, Reuters reports.

With the global pandemic of coronavirus causing a huge surge in both remote learning and working from home, people across the globe have been purchasing laptops and desktops at a higher level than any time for more than a decade. At the same time that people were buying more computers, sales of smartphones slumped, as many decided to put off upgrading their handheld devices and instead spend their money on a larger device that was more useful for work or school.

The highest level of sales of desktops and laptops in recent years was in 2008, when 300 million units were shipped. Since then, sales have declined toward 250 million, and many expected that the PC market would never recover to its previous position. Conventional wisdom said that customers wanted smaller, portable devices that were more affordable and which they would upgrade more often, rather than the large investment of a PC.

But hardware industry representative told Reuters that this year looks as if sales will recover to these previous levels, with up to 300 million PCs shipped which is an increase of 15% from 2019. Tablet sales are also up.

This increased demand has put additional pressure on supply chains that were already impacted by the pandemic. There has been a shortage of components like graphics cards and laptops, with limited stock available in many locations globally. And these private customers are also after the same laptops and other components that educational institutions are trying to stock up on for their students.

Experts told Reuters they expect the shortages of components to continue, with sales in 2021 maintaining or even exceeding those in 2020. A new wave of computers will be introduced next year with features like better cameras for video calling and the integration of 4G or 5G chips for those who don’t have reliable Wi-Fi. But some countries may see shortages of laptops and desktop components which will continue until 2022.

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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