Should You Buy Tech In The Middle Of A Chip Shortage?

chip shortage

What’s going on?

Nvidia released the RTX 3090 in September of 2020 at a retail price of $1,499. Today, it’s available on Amazon for over $3,000. No amount of Prime Day deals are going to make that price tag any less absurd. It’s not just new products that are being sold way over value, even older computer components are being sold at prices that suggest they’re anything but e-waste. Everyone knows why, its the chip shortage. Any product with a grain of silicon in it, no matter how outdated and obsolete, is being hoarded, scalped, and price hiked at an absurd level. The shortage has affected every industry from computers, to automobiles, to fridges. But today we will only be focusing on how it as affects you, the consumer. Is it possible to buy tech now, and is it even worth it?

Is it going to stop?

Most people decide to wait it out, eventually the prices have to return to normal, right? No one wants to be the fool who takes the loss and buys an absurdly overpriced product, just for the price to return to normal in a few weeks. The problem is that prices haven’t been dropping for a long time. Normally supply tends to meet demand, but in this case the supply has been maxed out for months, and still isn’t showing signs of improving. But this isn’t a lecture on economics, you want to know if, and where you should buy tech products right now.

What are your options?

The answer is two-fold; if you need your tech now, then there really is only one option aside from taking a hit from absurd online markups. The only place to get fair priced tech right now is in-person in-store. To go back to our example of the RTX 3090, it’s available right now online for $3,000, but at a Micro Center store, they have them in stock at normal retail price. “Normal” includes a small markup that varies based on brand, and store location, but usually under a couple hundred dollars. However compared to online price markups, it’s basically nothing. Bottom line is, if you need computer components now, you go in-store.

When will it end?

Is it worth waiting out the chip shortage? This really depends on your situation. People have been waiting out the price hikes for almost a year, and while we have seen slight decreases in markups, everything in online stores is still way over MSRP. If you have the patience, there’s nothing stopping you from holding out. But most people don’t want to wait a year to get what they want. In that case, your only options are to give in to the scalpers, and take the loss of online prices, or try to find your products in-store. Of course manufacturing is bound to increase eventually, it’s just a matter of when. So be smart, don’t waste your money, and hold out if you can.

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