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Logitech on Webcam Shortage: "We're Doing Everything We Can"

Logitech Webcam
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you've been looking for a name-brand webcam at a reasonable price, you may be looking quite a bit longer. The market continues to deal with a supply shortage as the new telecommuting normal shows no signs of stopping. Though Logitech, the clear leader in webcams,  told us in April that supplies would return to normal by May, it's still difficult to find one of the company's webcams -- especially its popular C920 series -- in stock at anywhere near the MSRP.

Perhaps because of Logitech shortages, new competitors are appearing almost daily and some have even made our list of the best webcams.  However, the demand for Logitech cameras remains practically insatiable and the company says it's trying to keep up with demand but can't say when the shortages will subside. 

“While we cannot commit to a specific date,” a Logitech PR representative explained to me over email today, “we are doing everything we can to increase the [webcam] supply, especially with the upcoming back to school season”

This comes months after our April 7th email interview with the company, where a representative confidently told us we could expect more webcams to hit store shelves in early-May. “We have aggressively increased production,” they explained. “We have every confidence that demand will be met in the next 4-6 weeks.”

Even big box stores were sure that Logitech webcams would come back into stock soon, with then-current B&H listings promising new stock would arrive in June.

However, as the pandemic continues and more states abandon re-opening procedures, webcams remain in as high a demand and as short a supply as they did back during the lockdown’s early days, and Logitech’s products are still either sold out or price-gouged in most stores.

“We have aggressively increased production,” Logitech repeated to me over email earlier today, before briefly delving into why supply is still so low. “However, due to high demand, we continue to sell out quickly leading to the ‘out of stock’ messages you see on our website.”

The representative then directed me to the company’s recent July 20th quarterly report for a more detailed explanation. Here, Logitech President and CEO Brecken P. Darrel told investors that “PC webcams continued the strong momentum exiting last quarter with Q1 sales more than doubling to the highest quarterly level in a decade...we’re ramping our capacity to meet demand, working to overcome component shortages as we do. We expect Q2 supply to improve, but still -- it still could remain pretty tight throughout the quarter.”

In both this presentation and our email interview, it’s clear that the company is now, wisely, avoiding setting expectations for when exactly we can expect supply to normalize again.

We don’t blame Logitech for initially overestimating production, given that states like California have made similarly overly optimistic calls. The pandemic is hard to predict.

Still, it seems like we’re going to have to wait a while for Logitech webcams to be readily available again- perhaps through the next financial quarter. In the meantime, you can buy some Logitech webcams marked up through third-party sellers on stores like Amazon- the normally $80 Logitech C920 is currently selling for $158 new on Amazon while the normally $50 Logitech C310 is currently selling for $67 used. Alternatively, you can check the official Logitech site, where webcams frequently enter and leave stock by the minute (the C920 shifted from being in-stock to being out-of-stock as I wrote this article) and there is a current order processing delay of up to 7 days.
 

  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    As far back as February, the value C270 model was under $20 at retail. Logitech now lists it at ~ $40.

    So they are making way more profit, and Logitech claims they somehow still can't make enough. Think about it - if they made $5 profit from a selling price of $20, then an increase to $40 is a profit of $25, which is a 500% gain! That gain is probably the same across almost all of their models.

    So the real reason they can't make enough is due to their profits. Why make more & stabilize the pricing (i.e. lower the higher pricing) when you are raking in the profits?
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    But they can only realize that profit by selling a Webcam. I'm sure they are attempting to make as many as they can without overbuying production equipment or training workers who will be excess in a few months. Remember all their competitors are also responding to the same market and probably all increasing production.

    They are not the only provider of webcams and will not benefit from withholding production.

    Best thing to do is choose the one you want by features and reasonable markup from MSRP and order from a large supplier understanding that it is on backorder. Then you will get it fastest. It may never show "in stock" before you get it.

    Did this with Dell on a Tom's recommended Razr. Got it about a month after being told it was back-ordered and not available for three months.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    Considering global lockdown took place some months back (even though there are still lockdowns currently), I don't believe there is still a continued strong demand for webcams now. I suspect is more of restocking that is propping up demand for now. They will need to be careful in terms of regulating supply or risk flooding the market with webcams.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Lockdowns are relaxed but everyone now considers a quality webcam a "must have" peripheral. And they are relatively cheap compared to the whole computer.

    Still a lot of remote visiting going on and you'll need a webcam even if just for a once-a-week "distanced" meeting with a child's teacher.

    There is very little "stocking" in modern supply chains so I suspect very little "restocking" is happening. No one wants to stock tech items. They go stale faster than many baked goods.
    Reply
  • grimfox
    2Be_or_Not2Be said:
    As far back as February, the value C270 model was under $20 at retail. Logitech now lists it at ~ $40.

    So they are making way more profit, and Logitech claims they somehow still can't make enough. Think about it - if they made $5 profit from a selling price of $20, then an increase to $40 is a profit of $25, which is a 500% gain! That gain is probably the same across almost all of their models.

    So the real reason they can't make enough is due to their profits. Why make more & stabilize the pricing (i.e. lower the higher pricing) when you are raking in the profits?

    That's only true if Logitech were selling them directly. The people making more profit by price gouging are the middlemen. Amazon, the people who use Amazon to list their wares and Best Buy/big box stores. Which are responding to simple supply and demand market forces. I doubt that Logitech is making much more money because they still have to compete with their competitors.

    Overall Logitech stands to lose market share by not being able to keep up with demand as people "settle" for good enough products and tell their friends looking to buy Logitech that, "yeah, but they are so expensive, I bought a <generic knockoff> and its fine." Logitech needs to maintain supply or risk losing sales in the long run. Investors might be happy about short term price hikes (if Logitech were doing that) that result in high earnings one quarter, but next year when sales are down vs the 5 year average investors will pull out costing Logitech even more.
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    grimfox said:
    That's only true if Logitech were selling them directly. The people making more profit by price gouging are the middlemen. Amazon, the people who use Amazon to list their wares and Best Buy/big box stores. Which are responding to simple supply and demand market forces. I doubt that Logitech is making much more money because they still have to compete with their competitors.

    Overall Logitech stands to lose market share by not being able to keep up with demand as people "settle" for good enough products and tell their friends looking to buy Logitech that, "yeah, but they are so expensive, I bought a <generic knockoff> and its fine." Logitech needs to maintain supply or risk losing sales in the long run. Investors might be happy about short term price hikes (if Logitech were doing that) that result in high earnings one quarter, but next year when sales are down vs the 5 year average investors will pull out costing Logitech even more.

    The prices I'm quoting is from Logitech's own store. So they do sell them direct, and that's where I'm getting the profit margin. I can't say for sure that they are purposely keeping supplies low, but that sure keeps demand high for their webcams.

    I definitely agree with NOT buying from the profiteers selling the different models on Amazon. Ironically, one of the best places to get that C270 model is those short windows when Best Buy has it for < $30. Imagine that, a "big box" retailer actually being one of the best on the prices of the webcams, when they are in stock.

    Personally, I think Amazon should have the MSRP of every product shown plainly on each listing, when there is a listing by the original mfg for that product on Amazon. Those 3rd party listings especially need to have the MSRP pricing shown, not just "Available from these sellers", so at least people will have some idea on how much they are being gouged. If they still buy, then it's on them. Sadly, my favorites right now, ITX B550 boards and SFX power supplies, have a bunch of profiteering going on right now in Amazon.
    Reply
  • justinbower
    In all fairness, keep in mind that their prices to produce and distribute have likely gone up as well. Raw materials, labor issues with revamped working conditions, increased transportation costs, and the same for their distributors.
    Reply