Game over: why Santa Claus can have a hard time bringing you that PS5, Xbox or iPad | Christmas

Some of the most popular Christmas gifts are sold online at over 70% margins after being sold in large street stores due to the global microchip shortage.

Supply chain bottlenecks and computer chip shortages are affecting the availability of some of the most sought-after freebies, from game consoles to Dyson products. Buyers were warned last week of a delay of at least a month for some of the most popular iPad models.

Game consoles have been in short supply for most of the pandemic, and businesses are struggling to keep up with the surge in demand for Christmas. Customers attacked online “scalpers” for buying stocks and pushing up prices.

The Microsoft Xbox Series X, which launched in November 2020, typically sells for £ 449.99, but was sold out or in very limited supply at most retailers last week, including Currys, John Lewis, Argos and Asda. But it was available for sale in the onbuy.com online marketplace for £ 669.49, a mark-up of almost 50%.

Sony’s PlayStation 5 console, which also typically sells for £ 449.99, was also widely sold at retailers last week, including on Sony’s own website. It was offered for sale through an online outlet last week for £ 779.99, a 73% mark-up.

Currys struggled to get orders in time for Christmas. Photograph: Maureen McLean / REX / Shutterstock

Alex Baldock, general manager of the Currys electrical store, said last week the store faces an “acute challenge” in securing orders for popular products for Christmas. It was difficult to get a full line of laptops, and Dyson’s latest hair styling product, the Airwrap, was like “gold dust.”

The Airwrap sells for £ 449.99, but was out of stock Thursday on Dyson’s UK website. A statement on the online store said, “Due to global supply issues, stocks may be limited at times, but more will be available soon.” The Airwrap was also not available online at Amazon, Boots, and John Lewis.

Manufacturing of many electronic products has been curtailed due to a global shortage of microchips, described by the Semiconductor Industry Association in the United States as the “brain of modern electronics.” Microchips, also known as integrated circuits or semiconductors, are a collection of tiny electronic circuits on a small, flat piece of silicon.

Global microchip sales will hit nearly £ 400 billion this year, but production concentrated in East Asia has been significantly disrupted by the pandemic. Meanwhile, demand continued to grow for the computer chips needed by all sectors of the economy, from ventilators used to treat patients with Covid-19, to leisure consumer goods to cars.

Apple was signaled by Bloomberg in October to cut production targets for its iPhone 13 by 10 million units due to prolonged chip shortages. The electronics giant has also reportedly cut iPad production to allocate more components to its latest iPhone.

The UK Apple Store deadline to order an iPad mini in time for Christmas was November 17, and the deadline for an iPad was November 24. Amazon shipping times last week for a 10.2-inch iPad at £ 319 in 2021 were between one and two months.

Clive Black, retail analyst at Shore Capital investment group, said: “Sales will be down overall because retailers won’t be able to fill orders to meet all the demand, but the silver lining is that they will profit from full price sales. with very little discount.

Richard Hyman, a retail consultant, said stores already struggling with increased labor costs and supply shortages now face the additional impact of Omicron, which would almost certainly dampen shopping activity in city centers and downtowns this week. He said: “This retail industry is already cracking up and now it is facing even more pressure.”


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