Even Santa can’t deliver the tech gifts in time for Christmas

The global chip shortage seems to be making it harder for shoppers to get hold of the most sought-after tech gadgets.
9 December 2021

Even Santa can’t bring in your tech gifts on time for Christmas. (Photo by STEFANIE LOOS / AFP)

  • The chip shortage is causing a delay in some of the most sought-after tech gifts for the Christmas season
  • Sony and Canon announced that orders for its camera and lenses will face delays up till next year
  • Even Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5 games consoles as well as Nintendo Switch are facing short supplies

Just two weeks away from Christmas and if you are yet to buy the tech gifts on your wishlist, you might just be out of luck — until next year at least. The shortage of raw materials, particularly semiconductor chips, is keeping production timetables behind schedule, and the shipping backlog isn’t helping either.

Frankly, the wait times for popular tech products are always changing, but the challenge for shoppers is clear — they should be prepared to shop early and be flexible. Canalys principal analyst Ben Stanton said that while manufacturers are doing their best to keep up supply, the chip shortage is at a legitimate roadblock.

“On the supply side, chip manufacturers are increasing prices to disincentivize over-ordering in an attempt to close the gap between demand and supply. But despite this, shortages will not ease until well into 2022.” For context, Canalys reported in October that smartphone sales dipped by 6% due to the shortage, which was aggravated by the ongoing, global supply chain predicament brought about by the pandemic.

Tech gifts for Christmas that you will have to wait for

Fundamentally, the shortage of chips that was first felt in the auto industry, has since spread to all industries using electronic components including consumer tech, gaming, payment cards, and others. The conundrum eventually led companies to reduce their production forecasts.  From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and now even Christmas, people have been left waiting for a long period at most, mainly for tech gifts and purchases.

Two weeks after announcing it would no longer take orders for its a7 II series, a6400, and a6100 camera systems, Sony Japan has announced the next casualty of the ongoing chip shortage is its ZV-E10 compact camera system. “There is a delay in procurement of parts for digital imaging products due to the global shortage of semiconductors.”

Specifically, the announcement says that as of December 3, 2021, Sony would no longer be accepting orders from dealers and customers for the ZV-E10, a vlogging-oriented camera released just five months ago. Of course, Sony is not the only electronics company that is the victim of the chip shortage.

A week later, Canon published a notice informing consumers that orders for its flagship EOS R3 mirrorless camera could take up to six months to ship. Shared on Canon’s website under the headline ‘Apology and guidance regarding the supply status of products,’ Canon says it could take a lot of time’ for its new EOS R3 and RF 14–35mm F4 L IS USM to ship out to consumers. 

Canon says ‘the products are scheduled to be shipped one-by-one,’ but it’s not going to happen at a rapid pace. Additionally, the camera and lens manufacturer said ‘it may take more than half a year to deliver when you place a new order’ for its EOS R3 camera and RF 14–35mm F4 L IS USM lens. Other lenses and accessories are also being impacted such as the RF 16mm F2.8 STM, RF 100–400mm F5.6–8 IS USM, and RF 400mm F2.8 L IS USM will ‘take longer than usual to ship.’

Another Japanese technology giant, Nintendo, is also being forced to decrease the production of its wildly popular Nintendo Switch, just as it nears the 100 million units sold mark. To be precise, Nintendo is expected to decrease production of its flagship gaming console by as much as 20%, according to the report by Nikkei. The reason, like so many other recent consumer goods shortages, is the persistent global microchip shortage.

The report also highlighted that Nintendo was expected to produce 30 million Nintendo Switch consoles between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, but has now reduced that expectation to 24 million. This is on top of the ongoing short supplies of Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5 games consoles.

Xbox head Phil Spencer believes the chip shortage and supply chain constraints would lead to consoles facing scarcity until next year.  In his interview with The Wrap, Spencer admitted that the struggle to manufacture new units goes beyond the chip shortage, which has affected the current generation of Xbox and PlayStation consoles since its launch.

In September this year, Japanese manufacturer Toshiba said that the supply of materials needed for console makers to produce semiconductors will “remain very tight” until September 2022, at the very least.