Big webcam shortage as prices are hiked

A massive shortage of webcams has arisen, as demand for computers and peripherals for remote working surges.

NPD found that sales of laptops and desktops in the US were up 40% in the first three weeks of March 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Sales for peripherals such as keyboards went up 64%, headsets climbed 134%, and monitors 138%.

Webcams saw the biggest jump in sales, with an increase of 179%.

While most laptops feature built-in webcams, desktop users have to purchase an external unit to use for videoconferencing on their computers.

Sold out

According to a report from The Verge, webcams are sold out at major retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target.

Where The Verge was able to find webcams for sale by resellers on Amazon, their prices were marked up.

For example, the Logitech C270 – a basic HD webcam – would normally retail for $24.99 (R450). Sellers on Amazon were advertising the unit at $130 (R2,340) and up.

The higher-end Logitech C930E, which usually sells for $129.99 (R2,340), is now listed at $100 extra.

To address the demand, Logitech informed Tom’s Hardware it has “aggressively increased production to focus on more quantities of webcams”.

South Africans can’t buy tech

In South Africa, it appears that users who did not have a webcam before the lockdown will find it difficult to purchase one.

Many brick-and-mortar computer shops are closed, while online sales are also limited.

Online computer hardware retailer Wootware secured a permit to continue trading and delivering products during the lockdown. However, MyBroadband found there was no stock available of webcams.

Game currently offers a selection of computer hardware and electronics, but MyBroadband was unable to find any web cameras available.

Now read: Behind-the-scenes photos at top shopping malls during the lockdown

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Big webcam shortage as prices are hiked