For over a year, the covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world. Restrictions and worries characterize the lives of many. It is not difficult to understand that the interest in computer and video games is great when we are at home more than before. At the same time, groundbreaking launches have taken place on the hardware front – the next generation of game consoles have been released on the market and the latest the graphics card from Nvidia and AMD takes huge performance steps.
We test the latest generation of graphics cards:
A magical combination, it may seem. But the extreme demand, coupled with logistics problems in the wake of the pandemic, has led to great frustration among gamblers around the world. The hardware is simply extremely difficult to obtain – whether we’re talking about the latest Playstation or an RTX 3080 graphics card. For example, anyone planning to upgrade or acquire a powerful gaming computer may have to wait a long time.
The price comparison site Prisjakt has seen a huge increase in demand for graphics cards since last autumn. Between January and March this year, Prisjakt’s figures show that our buying interest increased by a staggering 335 percent compared with the same period last year.
– There are several factors that interact. It’s upgrade season, with new game consoles and graphics cards on the market. But if we look more specifically at graphics cards, it is also affected by the lack of silicon, the trade war between the USA and China and inhibited production chains as a result of covid-19.
That’s what Oscar Hagman, an analyst at Prisjakt Insights, says. He also states that computer components such as power supplies, processors, frame memories and the PC chassis have risen sharply in demand.
– Overall, I think the interest in building and upgrading computers increased during the pandemic, something we should do. But we can see that everything that has to do with gambling is going very well right now – there is a lot that sells out, says Oscar Hagman.
The harsh reality surrounding the availability of graphics cards has also caused prices to climb. At the beginning of March, average prices according to PriceSpy’s statistics were around 17.5 per cent higher than in November last year. At that time, several of the graphics cards in Nvidia’s RTX 30 series had been on sale for some time.
– It has to do with availability. As long as the graphics cards are so difficult to get hold of, manufacturers and retailers know that they can raise prices. Now they are almost at extreme levels, and I can imagine that they start to decline slightly when supply and logistics problems improve, says Oscar Hagman.
Tough time also for retailers
The Swedish retailers testify to an extremely tough period. Inet’s purchasing manager John Ljungström describes the buying pressure as record high.
– It is precisely the combination of unusually high demand and the prevailing world situation that creates this record shortage. We have never had this kind of pressure on a graphics card launch, the interest in the RTX 30 series in particular has really been enormous. When this immensely popular launch takes place at the same time as a pandemic that forces factories to close and restricts shipping routes, we end up here.
The lack of graphics cards has forced Inet to close down the booking options for graphics cards that are not in stock. Despite this, the company is struggling with a large “backlog” of orders, there are customers who have waited a long time for their cards. The models that customers have waited the longest for are given priority.
– At the same time, we try to find equivalent models that are available and offer these to customers who are waiting for models with a long estimated delivery time, says John Ljungström.
He goes on to say that Inet does not have a special order of priority between customers who have bought the retailer’s own, pre-built computers with the latest graphics cards and those who have only placed a booking on a graphics card.
– Instead, we have tried to redirect our ready-built machines towards using components that do not have as long a backlog of sales orders in cases where it has been possible.
Webhallen is another retailer that both builds and sells its own computers in parallel with the new graphics cards.
– The shortage situation is greater for some graphics cards – for example RTX 3060 and 3080. Around these, the interest is still much greater than the availability on the market. We hope that manufacturers can expand their production and allocation for these graphics cards, says Webhallen’s marketing manager Fredrik Lindblad.
Nor does Webhallen make any priorities beyond the queuing system used for all graphics card orders. Fredrik Lindblad describes a grim period in the graphics card market.
– In the short term, we only see smaller deliveries, and we are completely dependent on the production capacity and the allocation we receive from the manufacturers. We do everything in our power to ensure that our customers receive their graphics cards as soon as possible.
Inet’s John Ljungström is on the same track:
– We estimate that quarter 2 of 2021 looks roughly the same as quarter 1 has done so far. Demand will probably be saturated so that deliveries can catch up eventually, but when this happens I will leave it unsaid.