The global COVID-19 pandemic has been with us now for a year, and it has had innumerable impacts on almost every aspect of our daily lives. But a recent posting on the CNBC website details an impact that few would have imagined possible.
It seems that the demand for computers and other electronic devices needed to support our new work-from-home population has increased to a record level. In fact, retail sales of electronics reportedly soared to a record $442 billion in 2020, with strong growth projected well into 2021.
But each of these devices requires a variety of semiconductor technologies, from central processing chips for computers to smaller, less expensive chips that control displays, peripherals, and communications devices. So, even with all-out efforts to increase semiconductor production, the overwhelming demand has forced suppliers to prioritize who gets the much-needed technology.
According to the CNBC report, the biggest impact of the chip shortage is falling on automobile manufacturers. GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, and Fiat, along with others, have reportedly reduced or significantly slowed vehicle production due to the lack of semiconductor availability.
But the impact is also being felt closer to home (literally!), as Sony has said that the shortage of PlayStation 5 game consoles is due to the chip shortage.