The retailer purchase price of the "C920" webcam from Logitech is normally between 40 and a maximum of 60 euros. For many years there have been at most small swings in one direction or the other. But hardly anything is normal in the current situation. Within a few weeks, the HEK of the webcam has risen rapidly and has almost tripled from the recent 43 to more than 120 euros, as can be seen from the data of the IT-Scope dealer platform, which receives information from hundreds of ITK distributors active in Germany. An example from the economics textbook, says Benjamin Mund, Managing Director of IT-Scope, in an interview with CRN. "Supply and demand." The price jump has been preceded by peaks in sales several times since January, stocks have been emptied accordingly quickly, the C920 is currently only available from a few wholesalers.
"Not enough to meet demand"
"I've never experienced a situation like this before," reports Marco Kuhn, sales manager of the IT processing company bb-net, to CRN (here you can find the entire post). Although the Schweinfurt-based company was able to significantly increase its own output of notebooks in the short term, that was "far from being enough to meet demand." An exceptional situation, not just for the Lower Franconians, but for the entire ITK channel. The demand for almost all product groups related to decentralized work and home office has exploded in recent weeks due to the Corona crisis.
“Stay at home” is the motto of these days. The federal government has appealed to all companies to work from home where possible in order to minimize the risk of infection of the virus among employees. Angela Merkel sets a good example herself and is currently ruling from within her own four walls. While the Chancellor was certainly already able to fall back on the appropriate tools, it was necessary for many companies to set up the necessary infrastructure in the shortest possible time in order to be able to map all business processes decentrally. Collaboration solutions are therefore more in demand than ever, Microsoft has reported twelve million new Teams users within a week, Zoom speaks of twelve times more downloads and providers such as Slack, Cisco and Google are also facing a similar onslaught. Most recently, Microsoft even had to restrict the functionality of many of its Office 365 services in order to be able to cope with the high volume of data at all - this step was preceded by massive disruptions by teams over a few days.
Demand will soon wane
The necessary collaboration and communication tools are one side, the corresponding hardware the other. In addition to webcams and headsets, the market for notebooks in the lower and middle price segment in particular has been swept almost empty, and stocks of many models, according to IT-Scope, are almost zero. "There are currently hardly any products on the market when it comes to home office equipment," reports Bernadette Jürs, Head of Sales at Axro, a Hamburg-based distributor primarily for consumables. For example, at the end of February, according to IT Scope, the “Lenovo ThinkBook” was no longer available from any of the 370 distributors. According to Benjamin Mund, in many cases they would have increased their stocks in the first quarter - but not always with the right products. In particular, components such as CPUs and memories were procured, the production of which in China sometimes stalled. However, the sudden demand for home office solutions and the resulting delivery bottlenecks could only have been predicted by very few industry experts.