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Laptop Shortage? Why It’s Almost Impossible To Buy A Laptop In 2020

Why is it so hard to buy a laptop now?

If you’re a parent scrambling to buy a laptop for homeschooling or just a regular Joe that’s suddenly required to work from home, you probably know that it’s almost impossible to buy a decently-priced, non-gaming notebook from ANYONE right now. You’ve probably already called all the big dealers AND fell in line in both Gilmore and whatever SM Cyberzone nearest to you only to be told that all the relatively affordable ones (and even some mid-range notebooks) are already out of stock.

So, is there a laptop shortage happening? Sort of. While there’s still plenty of stocks for more expensive models above the Php 50K price range, it’s almost impossible to get anything below that, and stocks for even the more expensive models are starting to evaporate. And the cause is obvious: COVID-19 has hit hard, and stock levels are disappearing as a result.

The damage is two-fold: it’s getting incredibly difficult to get new stocks into the Philippines because of the reduction of manpower that the ECQ and MECQ periods mandate. Clearing stocks from customs is slow because of overall volume and reduced manpower, thanks to COVID cases in various port areas.

Aside from that, the actual output for parts and components has also been hit. The supply chain which heavily relies on China was disrupted during the height of the Wuhan outbreak and has not returned to pre-pandemic levels yet.

As for local supply, conversations with vendors and other key people in the local PC and IT market confirm that dealers and sellers are scratching the bottom of the barrel for mid-range and entry-level options for laptops, with some dealers down to just 30% of inventory for laptops, which is incredibly low.

Why didn’t the dealers plan for this? Simple: no one knew how bad the impact of COVID-19 would be, and for the people who suddenly had to work from home/students who had to study at home AND who had the money all bought notebooks back in May/June. This increased demand literally wiped out the stocks of many dealers who were unprepared for the sudden rise in sales, who now then couldn’t get in more stocks because of customs difficulty and general supply constraints.

There is an alternative though: desktops and pre-built PCs. If you’re a home worker that somehow hasn’t bought your own notebook yet, or are a parent that can’t seem to get a hold of a laptop at a decent price, you can always buy a desktop PC while they’re still available.  There are a ton of options out there currently that you can buy if you absolutely need some sort of PC to work on and for your kids to study with. We’re still compiling an affordable sub 25K list for that, so watch out for that in a few.

Desktop and pre-builts will usually offer better specs compared to a similarly-specced laptop anyway, and since many of us will practically be working and studying at home for the foreseeable future, the loss of mobility isn’t really a problem anyway.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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2 Comments

  1. Good article, laptops get all the attention, desktops are easier to find, I had the same problem mid march when ecq happened, only was able to buy a refurbished unit in April. Go for desktops, you are working from home anwyay.

  2. Same thing that’s happening in the USA, I work for a computer retailer and even refurbished laptops, like chromebooks are all sold out.

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