PC and Component Shortages May Ease by End of Year, Research Firm Says

Cartoon laptops and components
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PC component shortages are likely to ease in the back half of the year, according to a new report published by Counterpoint Research. The market research firm analyzed demand-supply gaps and information from various industry sources to produce a time-based chart of component shortage levels. Below you can see the dotty chart in all its glory, indicating that not many key PC components are going to be affected by supply chain issues by the end of the year.

(Image credit: Counterpoint Research)

The chart is simple enough to read, but pay attention to the key. A series of three dots means demand is outpacing supply by up to 30%, meanwhile one red dot represents a 10% imbalance.

In the latter part of 2022, we will see no three-dot or two-dot issues in the PC components supply chain, reckons Counterpoint. Just three sub-10% demand – supply imbalances stubbornly stick around though to the end of the year.

Based on the research, a troublesome threesome of LCM (Liquid Crystal Monitor) components only the PMIC (Power Management Integrated Circuit) will remain in somewhat low supply.

Moving down the chart of expected shortage levels in 2022, we see a singular dot remains in the discrete GPU category. This may indeed be the case, but we have seen very encouraging moves in PC graphics card pricing, with many selling for near MSRP over recent days. The better flow of GPUs to consumers may also have something to do with the apparent decoupling between crypto-pricing and GPU pricing.

CPU supplies have been flowing pretty freely since H2 last year, according to Counterpoint. Still the chart doesn't seem to account for limited-run chips like the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D being in short supply and priced well over MSRP where available.

Lastly, Counterpoint notes a couple of ICs used by PC add-in-cards and motherboard will still be in short supply as we live through H2 2022. These are PMICs and Wi-Fi chips. PMICs are showing good progress in reaching  shortages of less than 10%, however, the small but irksome shortage of Wi-Fi chips seems to have been a constant feature for the industry since H1 2021.

PC enthusiasts, DIYers, and gamers have had a tough old time over the last few years. We've seen a cryprocurrency drag GPU prices along with each boom and bust. Then the global Covid-19 pandemic with multiple lockdowns and work from home measures meant all the best laptops and desktops were bought up by eager consumers. Lastly, the virus also had (and continues to have) a detrimental effect on production and shipping.

PC Shipments Slip

Global PC shipments were down 4.3% year on year in Q1 2022, Counterpoint noted in its report. Contributing factors entering 2022 were the supply chain component shortages and logistics issues, said the market researcher. It warned of continued disruption due to the current lockdowns and related virus countermeasures in China, with important tech hubs like Kunshan and Shanghai heavily affected.

(Image credit: Counterpoint Research)

Changes to the respective market shares of some of the biggest PC systems makers is charted above, with the most recent quarter in red, compared to Q1 a year ago, in gray. One of the market ruptures not evidenced in this chart is the particularly bad impact of the Chromebook sales slump upon Acer. Meanwhile, Asus grew 4% over the year thanks to the successful expansion of both its gaming and commercial offerings.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.