Tuesday, November 29, 2022

How COVID-19 has impacted tech supply and demand

Supply and demand

Almost every part of the shopping experience has been affected by the current pandemic – both online and offline. In some cases, supply has actually stayed the same as warehouse workers continue to ship products as normal.

What is different, is how people are spending their time. Millions are self-isolating and for many, work life has shifted from office to home. People around the world are now facing weeks or months with plenty of time on their hands. This has led to many online shoppers purchasing items or products they would not usually buy. Much the same as panic buying, demand for products is now overtaking supply, and inevitably, this is causing shortages of products as well as bandwidth for online services.

The Nintendo switch has hiked up its prices in the last week and has now sold out in numerous online stores. Other consoles are also in the same situation with stores seeing much higher prices. The Xbox One S is now proving difficult to find.

The likes of Amazon continue to treat urgent deliveries as a priority which is having an effect on sellers who have been put at the back of the queue. This means that for customers, even prime-eligible deliveries are now taking up to a week to arrive. In the United Kingdom, products like the Kindle usually take a day to arrive, now it’s taking up to five.

The company has also announced more changes to its delivery process in a statement to customers:

“As long as your order does not require an ID check, our drivers will no longer knock or ring the bell on delivery. They will leave your order on your doorstep or if you have a safe location you would prefer your order to be placed, you can leave delivery instructions for the driver when you place your order. If you live in a location that requires gate access, our drivers will continue to buzz for entry however they will no longer knock or ring the bell at your doorstep. Once the delivery has been completed, you will receive a notification via email and/or in the app. Please remember to immediately refrigerate or freeze any frozen and chilled items in your order. If your order requires an ID check, our driver will knock on your door or ring your doorbell, leave your order on your doorstep, step back and carry out the ID check at a distance. If your order requires an ID check and there is no answer at the door or by phone, the driver will take your order back with them.”

In the last few weeks we have seen Netflix, Disney and YouTube reduce their quality in streaming so that they are able to cope with the heightened demand. Microsoft has endured substantial issues on its servers with a 775% increase in team calling/remote meetings. This surge may slow down, much like the one in the supermarkets, where stock levels are now almost back to normal after being ransacked by worried buyers for the last few weeks. Some supermarkets have even announced that they will lift restrictions on items that were previously limited as a means to prevent panic buying. The lesson to learn from this is not to pay too much for your gadgets. The chances are supply and demand on these products will return to normal.