Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.

Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Digitron NG. Tech News, Computer Gadgets, Smartphones, Games, Information Technology, Videos, PC Utilities, Phone Utilites, Tips and Tricks, Tutorials. We successfully fused Technology and Entertainment to give you a very exciting experience on our website.
Tech

How will supply chain issues affect Black Friday this year? Experts weigh in.

It’s November, you’re shopping early to get ahead, and yet you’ve already been hit with some version of the low stock, backorder, or even out of stock alert. What gives?

The short answer: supply chain shortages. The slightly longer answer is that COVID-19 related factory closures, limited shipping container availability, delays at shipping ports, and a smaller workforce of truck drivers have all contributed to bottlenecks that make getting products from point A to point B much more difficult this year. 

In other words, things are looking scarce out there.

SEE ALSO:

The best Black Friday deals for 2021, all in one place

As for what that means for your holiday shopping, we’re here to give you some clarity in all the chaos. We asked four supply chain analysts to score 25 of the most sought after tech products of this season, based on their anticipated scarcity. We averaged their answers and placed them on a scale of one to ten, with one being the most available and ten portending a difficult shopping road ahead. The result: Mashable’s official Scarcity Score for 2021.

Our scoring system runs 1-10: The higher the Scarcity Score, the harder it will be to source the item.
Credit: Mashable

Below, you’ll find the final Scarcity Scores of each product, as well as some shopping tips, so that you can go into yet another unprecedented holiday shopping season feeling as prepared as possible.

How we settled on the scarcity scores

First, who was keeping the score? That’d be analysts from supply chain research firms Canalys, IDC, 3PL Links and IPC

When scoring each item, the analysts considered factors such as the ongoing chipset shortage, what products vendors are prioritizing, the consumer demand for the product, and aspects of the product itself, such as price range. Basically, unlike “normal” shopping years, higher demand on its own does not equal higher scarcity. The scores you’ll find below are the average of each of the four analysts’ responses, which were pretty consistent across the board.

Does a high score mean you’re out of luck? 

Not exactly. You might notice that none of the products below earned a score of 10, indicating that no one item on this list is a complete lost cause. As the Canalys analyst Runar Bjørhovde wrote in an email to Mashable, “It will be very possible to buy devices, it’s more of a question to what cost and when.Meaning that, while yes, you do have a chance at getting the coveted PlayStation 5, even with its score of nine, buying it before the holidays at its actual list price might not happen for you, despite your best efforts. 


“It will be very possible to buy devices, it’s more of a question to what cost and when.”

– Runar Bjørhovde, Canalys research analyst

Our biggest tips for avoiding disappointment this year? Shop early, buy when you see the products you want are in stock (which Google shopping is making easier than ever, btw), and adjust your expectations. Manufacturers will be prioritizing flagship devices (think Apple and iPhone), so expect higher-priced items to be more bountiful and due to limited stock, more affordable products to potentially sell out sooner. Bjørhovde also anticipates less impressive markdowns overall than years past to account for inventory shortages, but of course, we’ll keep you posted on all the best deals that are out there.

Don’t expect supply chain issues to go away soon

In years past, products tend to become more readily available once holiday demand dies down. As much as we’d love to say that this is also a limited time only situation, our analysts unanimously said that they do not see shortages and delays neatly wrapping up by the end of the year.

While Canalys doesn’t expect any new shortages in the next year and the situation is slowly starting to normalize, the incredibly high demand for chipsets, the shrunken labor force at retailers and delivery services, and the overall unpredictability of bottlenecks across several industries mean that we’ll likely see shortages and shipping delays continue well into 2022, and maybe even early 2023.

“It is uncertain how the situation will look in six months, but what we know is that it’s outcome will impact our expectation on electronics markets well into 2023,” Bjørhovde said.

With that, here are the Scarcity Scores for 25 of the hottest products this year:

iPhone 12


Credit: Zlata Ivleva / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

People love getting the latest and greatest for gift giving, and with this fall’s iPhone 13 release, the 12 no longer falls in that category. This means the 12 becomes part of that affordable product group that’s likely to sell out quicker. Our advice to shop soon already rings true here  — as of Nov. 12, Verizon is already showing this phone to be on backorder until early December and AT&T has multiple colors out of stock or in limited stock. As for unlocked 12s, at the time of writing there are none available at Amazon (though the purple model should be in stock soon), Walmart, or Best Buy. Best Buy does, however, have some different colors available through Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

Read our review of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro.

Microsoft Surface Duo

TK
Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

The new dual-screen phone from Microsoft does have a unique design. What it does not have is a price in an affordable range or a ton of hype around it. What that means for you is that if you’re looking to pick up a Duo 2, you shouldn’t go through too much strife.

Read our review of the Microsoft Surface Duo 2.

woman riding a peloton bike


Credit: Peloton / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Fitness products are always a popular holiday gift, and Peloton has certainly faced its own issues with supply chain shortages. With that said, people are also returning to gyms, so the demand for your own indoor bike isn’t nearly as high as it was this time last year. According to Peloton’s website, most delivery times for their basic bike option are under two weeks as of Nov. 10. 

Read our review of the Peloton Bike.

Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra


Credit: Zlata Ivleva / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

At a score of 4, you won’t have too much difficulty locating a Galaxy S21. While some models aren’t expected to ship until early December if you order through Samsung’s website, they’re still in stock and ready to ship at Best Buy, though colors are a bit limited, and you’ll have more luck if you’re not buying unlocked. As a precaution, you’ll probably want to get this smartphone in your cart on its way to you as soon as you’re ready to buy to be as sure as possible you’ll have it in time for the holidays.

Read our review of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3


Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

The flip phone is back in this Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, and while it is a good phone, its foldable features don’t really justify its existence. So even with the chip shortage, there’s not a wild amount of demand to push this phone into truly scarce territory. At the time of writing, this smartphone was plenty available and ready to ship in a week or less from both Samsung and Best Buy.

Read our review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3

Samsung Galaxy Fold 3


Credit: Brenda Stolyar / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Here we have another foldable phone from Samsung that’s perfectly fine, but with quite the starting price at $1,800. Considering the expensive new MacBooks start at only $200 more, we don’t foresee the Galaxy Fold as the tech people will be splurging for this holiday season. So chip shortage or not, you’ll likely be able to face very few obstacles getting this smartphone in time for the holiday. 

Read our review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.

DJI Mini 2 Drone

DJI mini 2 drone


Credit: DJI / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Its specs and size make this drone great for beginners and those looking to not spend a ton on a drone. As an Amazon Choice product with over 9,000 reviews that can also be found on the retailer’s holiday gift guide, chances are if someone’s looking for a drone this holiday season this one will be somewhere in the running. However, as compared to similarly priced items like gaming consoles or gift guides, drones aren’t quite as in high demand, so it makes sense that the DJI Mini 2 sits in the middle of the scarcity pack. 

See our picks for the best drones with cameras.

Google Pixel Pro 6

Google Pixel 6 and Pro 6


Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

So Google made a really solid smartphone that isn’t insanely priced, at least, as far as smartphones go. While it may not share the buzz of the iPhone 13, its pricing and positive reviews could make it a favored smartphone alternative this holiday season for those not committed to staying in the Apple ecosystem. Similar to the Samsung Galaxy S21, it is in stock at the Google Store and Best Buy, though offerings for unlocked phones and certain colors are a bit more limited at the time of writing. Again, we recommend buying early to avoid potential backordered or out of stock related stress.

Read our review of the Google Pixel 6 and Pro 6.

iRobot Roomba s9+

irobot roomba s9+


Credit: iRobot / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

The s9+ cleans like no other robot vacuum out there, but man is it expensive — like $1,300 expensive. Its high rating will certainly make it a popular pick for those willing to splurge this holiday, but its high price will likely curb any insane demand, as there are a bunch of quality budget alternatives.

Read our review of the iRobot Roomba s9+.

Oculus Quest 2

oculus quest 2 VR gaming headset


Credit: Zlata Ivleva / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

The Oculus Quest 2 is the VR headset to get because it’s easy to use, actually works well, and doesn’t come with a ludicrous price tag. At the time of writing, it is in stock markup-free at Best Buy, Walmart, and Amazon (where it’s one of the picks for their holiday gift guide). It could very well be a popular alternative to a more scarce Xbox or PlayStation — it was definitely a top pick last holiday season. With that said, this is one of the flagship priority products, so while it may not be a breeze to pick one up at the last minute, you shouldn’t expect shopping for this headset to be too taxing. 

Read our review of the Oculus Quest 2 VR gaming headset.

AirPods 3rd Gen

AirPods 3rd Gen on a marble background


Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Much like our feelings on this AirPods upgrade, the scarcity score of Apple’s newest buds is very middle of the line. Waiting until the last minute probably won’t be a surefire way to get them, but they certainly won’t be one of the harder finds of the season. 

Read our review of the third-generation AirPods.

AirPods Pro

airpods pro earbuds against a denim background


Credit: Karissa Bell / Mashable

Why it got this score:

Though there’s a new model of AirPods on the market, they don’t come with active noise cancellation and interchangeable tips like the well-loved Pros, so we expect them to remain a popular pick this year. While you likely won’t have to check retailers daily to snag them, we did already see their price dip early on in the sale season, so being safe about timing and proactive about saving are definitely not at odds with each other.

Read our review of the AirPods Pro.

iRobot Roomba 675

a hand reaches for the iRobot Roomba robot vacuum


Credit: PCMag / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

This iRobot Roomba is great for keeping small spaces clean and is one of the cheapest WiFi-enabled robot vacs out there. For those unwilling to drop over $1000 on the s9+, this is a solid affordable pick — which is also why it sits firmly in kinda scarce territory. 

See where Roomba 675 falls on our list of the best robot vacuums.

Xbox Series S

Xbox Series S


Credit: Adam Rosenberg / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

It may not have the disc drive or the processing power of its Series X counterpart, but it is a whole two points less scarce than its Series X counterpart. While that doesn’t mean you should expect to see this console in stock whenever you look it up (at the time of writing, it is very much out of stock everywhere), it also won’t sell out as fast as the Series X, which means that if you see its available, buy it while you can.

Read more about the Xbox Series S.

iPhone 13

iPhone 13 and 13 mini propped up in the bark of a tree


Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Some delay on new Apple products released right before the holiday season is to be expected even in the best of times. In Apple’s October earnings call, Tim Cook shared that “[t]he iPhone channel inventory ended below the targeted range and is currently below it.” Not even Apple emerges unscathed from the chip shortage, so you’ll definitely want to take that into consideration if you planned on waiting to place an order on the new iPhone.  

Read our review of the iPhone 13.

MacBook Pro (14-inch)

MacBook Pro


Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Despite having a hefty supply, the high demand for the new MacBooks has left it so that chip shortages are still causing significant delays. If you didn’t preorder one of the newest MacBooks on its Oct. 18 debut, you’re going to have to wait until at least December for the laptop with the super-charged M1 chips to arrive.  

Read our review of the MacBook Pro.

Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch 7 on a person's wrist


Credit: PCMag / Angela Moscaritolo / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Already, we’re seeing certain colors of the Apple Watch 7 backordered and out of stock at Walmart and Best Buy. Such is the cost of being a high-demand new release. Buying early and being a bit flexible with style will help with scoring one of these watches. If you aren’t able to grab an Apple Watch in time, you do have some alternative options with other smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Read more about the Apple Watch Series 7.

NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards


Credit: NVIDIA GeForce

Why it got this score:

As gamers likely know, getting your hands on a graphics card has been no easy feat this past year. While some predict that this shortage could ease up in the coming months, you shouldn’t expect that it to be the easiest find this holiday season — our analysts said that as a category, PC graphics cards are a nine on the scarcity scale. This category has also had plenty of scalper activity, so if you do make a purchase, you’ll want to be careful you’re not overpaying.

MacBook Pro (16-in)

MacBook Pro


Credit: Molly Flores / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

If you’re looking to upgrade to the new 16-inch MacBook, you’ll definitely want to buy it ASAP, as orders placed at the time of writing are not expected to arrive until December. And thanks to Apple’s October earnings call, we know that CFO Luca Maestri has already said the company anticipates that the December quarter will show the worst of the supply restraint effects. 

Read our review of the MacBook Pro.

Nintendo Switch

someone playing a Nintendo Switch while in bed


Credit: Nintendo / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Remember March 2020 when finding a Switch that wasn’t at a 100% markup felt like an exercise in futility? While we’re not at that point yet, Nintendo is expected to cut Switch production by up to 20% because of, you guessed it, microchip shortages. So if you’ve been waiting to strike until the deal iron is hot, you might just want to strike while the inventory is still there. 

Read more about the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite


Credit: Adam Rosenberg / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

At $100 cheaper than the standard Switch and $150 cheaper than the OLED model, the Lite is a solid alternative for those who don’t mind the absence of joy cons, as long as they have a system to play Animal Crossing on. They became especially popular during the great Switch shortage in early 2020, and it’s possible that with the expected decrease in production, the same happens this year, particularly since they are the affordable alternative.

Read our review of the Nintendo Switch Lite.

Nintendo Switch OLED

Nintendo Switch Oled


Credit: Adam Rosenberg / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

This 2021 release didn’t have much to show in the way of upgrades beyond a better screen and slightly more storage. However, if you’re willing to pay a bit more, keeping your options open between this model and the 2017 Switch could mean greater chances of scoring the beloved Nintendo gaming console this shopping season. Again, just plan on buying sooner rather than later.

Read our review of Nintendo’s OLED Switch.

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X


Credit: Kellen Beck / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Chip shortages and high demand for the newest gaming consoles all year (that’ll only increase with the holiday season) has made grabbing the Xbox Series X quite challenging — so much so that retailers even timed out restocks in 10-minute increments. And look, we get it — it’s an impressive console with gorgeous visuals and powerful hardware. But a lot of other people think so too, which means that though it’s not quite as popular as the PS5, it’ll still mean checking frequently for restocks and making peace with the fact you might not be able to get one in time. If you’re willing to live without a disc drive and fanciest features, it might be worth getting the lower-scored Series S instead.

Read our review of the Xbox Series X.

PlayStation 5

PlayStation 5


Credit: Adam Rosenberg / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

Much like the Xbox Series X, this next gen console has been a difficult get since its release last November, due to the incredibly high demand and, say it with me now, the chipset shortage. If you haven’t already seen first hand how the PS5 is still selling out in literal minutes, we recommend tempering your expectations. If there is a chance of getting this before the holidays, it’ll require some serious vigilance — might we suggest following the PS5 In Stock Alerts Twitter?

Read our review of the PlayStation 5.

PlayStation 5 Digital Edition

PlayStation 5 Digital Edition


Credit: Sony / Mashable Composite

Why it got this score:

The digital edition of the PS5 comes without an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive, which can save you $100 if you manage to get your hands on it. Just like its disc-drived brother, this console sells out quickly once the restocks hit. If you’re willing to spend the extra cash, some retailers like Best Buy and Walmart are offering restocks to premium members only — but those memberships can cost you up to $200, and don’t guarantee you’ll manage to actually buy the console. 




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