The spike in video conferencing calls triggered by coronavirus-led global lockdowns has triggered a demand-spike in home-office gear, with Logitech saying it has completely run out of webcams.
Ecommerce tracking company CommerceIQ revealed that 80% of views on webcam product pages across the large online stores showed that the item has been out of stock for more than two weeks now - they went out of stock during the week-ended May 9.
“Now, I think people are slowly starting to realize this is a new normal...they realize they need to get prepared for a new operating normal,” says Guru Hariharan, the CEO of CommerceIQ, which says it has noted a discernible shift from just buying food in the early stages of the pandemic to acquiring work-from-home essentials.
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And no single product has seen the sort of demand as the webcams have during the past couple of months. People who had moved towards smaller mobile devices did an about-turn to the old and trusted webcams as work-from-home professionals felt an additional camera was far easier to manage than punch-hole cameras on phones or built into laptops.
Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell had told analysts last week that it took them several weeks to roll back production to pre-pandemic levels and they were just about at catch-up stage on some categories including webcams.
The tracking company also noticed a surge in demand for keyboards, monitors and office chairs as more and more people working from home felt the need of a proper office space that they had not foreseen till some months ago. Manufacturers were then left struggling to cope with the growing demand, with Covid-19 closing factories and inventories depleted in double-quick time.
However, things are getting better, with laptop and keyboard supplies improving. Mikako Kitagawa of consulting firm Gartner was quoted in the Washington Post as saying that laptops were catching up after a March shortfall.
However, Kitagawa feels things would take longer to normalize. Laptops are made in China as are some components, which once ready still required commercial flights to ship across the world. And those that did get shipped had to be assembled for local markets for which there were not enough people.
As for Amazon and Best Buy, they are struggling to clear back orders from four weeks ago while some third-party sites are offering them at double their original prices.
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Via: Washington Post