Since last year, the world has been trying to adapt to the new daily life influenced by the covid-19 pandemic. The scenario required little subtle changes in the work and education environments, favoring the record growth of the home-office and other alternatives to traditional formats. However, this “migration” has also exponentially accelerated the digitization process of the average citizen, resulting in the unprecedented increase in demand for electronic devices of all kinds.
Consequently, this effect has generated a historic demand for semiconductors and electronic components in the technology sector, something that ultimately led to a huge supply problem. For the common consumer, this scenario was translated into the sudden increase in the price of all categories that require chips, ranging from cars to graphics cards for computers and consoles.
Playstation 5 components were severely affected by the semiconductor crisis.Source: Eurogamer
In this context, recent releases such as the PlayStation 5 or the RTX 3000 line, from Nvidia, struggle to meet public demand, having their stocks depleted soon after their listing in retail stores — even with the price much higher than recommended by authorities. For the auto industry, the effect is reflected in thousands of vehicles stored in factories waiting for semiconductors, generating billions in losses even for the biggest manufacturers.
But in practice, how serious is the problem?
Increases of up to 5,000% — until now
As a survey by Logcomex points out, a startup of intelligence and data for foreign trade, components such as electronic integrated circuits (NCM 85423920) and circuits for RAM memory (NCM 85423221) registered a price increase of 4.803% and 1.903%, respectively. In other words, this means that the items cost about $2.37 and $4.94 as of July 2020, but peaked at $116.18 and $99.01 just one year later.
In an interview with TechWorld, Logcomex’s Operations Director, Carlos Souza, says that the situation should last. “There is still no perspective or forecast of normalization of prices. The trend is, even, that imported components become more and more expensive,” he explains.
The logistics of the ports and the increase in the search for container ships also influenced the increase in prices, according to Logcomex. (Source: Wikipedia / Reproduction)Source: Wikipedia
According to Carlos, part of the solution to the problem for the short term involves the inevitable passing on of costs to the consumer: “every commercial crisis, like that of the construction company Evergrande, is answered with governments injecting capital into the markets,” he says, “(… ) the effect that happens after that is the inflationary pressure on product prices and especially on freight.”
For some companies, like Qualcomm, the semiconductor crisis will end later this year. However, other companies like Intel point out that the case is likely to get worse. It remains to wait for the development of the industry to combat the problem.
increase in practice
Below, you can see the increase in the unit value of some electronic components that have undergone price increases since last year. The data were collected by Logcomex in July last year and 2021.
Electronic Integrated Circuits (NCM 85,423,920)
- July 2020: $2.37
- July 2021: $116.18
electronic integrated circuits (including static RAM, ROM and Flash) (NCM 85.423221)
- July 2020: US$4.94
- July 2021: $99.01
Electronic Integrated Circuits (NCM 85.429.090)
- July 2020: US$85.43
- July 2021: US$844.27
Electronic Integrated Circuits (NCM 85,423,999)
- July 2020: US$47.54
July 2021: $258.92
Electronic Integrated Circuits (NCM 85,423,919)
- July 2020: US$ 61.29
- July 2021: US$202.91