12 things you may not (or may not) find during the 2021 holiday season

12 things you may not (or may not) find during the 2021 holiday season

Tech Highlights:

  • Here’s an overview of 12 products and categories that have been impacted by the supply chain, and where things stand with them right now. And if you stay tuned ’til the end, you’ll find a comprehensive list of in-stock, early Black Friday deals from Walmart, Best Buy and more. On Monday, Walmart was offering the impossible-to-find PlayStation 5 to members of its Amazon Prime-rivaling Walmart+ for roughly list price — “while supplies last.” This is a thing. Many retailers are releasing limited quantities of the scarce PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles (thanks, chip shortage) during the holidays. Finding one at or near list price will be a matter of determination and luck — the more frequently you check stock with retailers online and in stores, the more likely you are to catch one of the holiday season’s sporadic restocks.

  • After all, the supply chain might not be the Grinch who steals Christmas. Despite fears of shortages, the US Commerce Department reported an increase in October retail sales, indicating that consumers were able to locate items to purchase (albeit, at likely higher prices). Meanwhile, major stores such as Walmart, Target, and TJ Maxx and Marshalls’ parent company said last week that they were well-stocked for the holidays. Employers are still having difficulty finding labour. Microchip manufacture continues to struggle to keep up with demand. Also, good luck finding a PlayStation 5 at a retail store.

If you’re intent on scoring one of these before 2021’s done, then, sure, there’s always eBay — where the PS5 and Xbox consoles are going for about $1,000 each, a 100% markup from their respective $500 list prices. A better option, as we previously recommended, is StockX, the third-party marketplace. As of publication, an authenticated Xbox X Series console could be had for $775, while a similarly authenticated PS5 with Blu-ray was selling for $766. The prices on StockX fluctuate a lot, from minute to minute sometimes, so as they say, your mileage may vary.

What’s a bargain-hunting laptop buyer to do? In advice that will be repeated throughout this guide: Look around, and click around. Here, for instance, is a real, live laptop deal from our CBS Essentials look at Amazon’s early Black Friday sale: a four-and-a-half-star-rated touchscreen HP Chromebook with 4GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage — and a price tag under $200. 11.6″ HP Chromebook with touchscreen, $144 (reduced from $260). As reported in September, the great chip shortage forced Apple to cut production on its new iPhone 13 series through the end of the year. Fortunately for Apple adherents, 90 million iPhones minus 10% (the anticipated production cut) is still a lot. As of publication, the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini were available directly via Apple — albeit at the devices’ pricey list prices of $799 and up, and $699 and up, respectively.

In the early months of the pandemic, chip production tanked and demand for chip-driven products increased. Presto change-o: chip shortage! And while you probably don’t shop for microchips, you probably shop for items that can’t be sold without them — like, laptops. In a holiday season forecast published in October, Stephen Baker of the market research firm the GDP Group wrote that entry-level consumer electronics — like, laptops, or, more precisely, cheap-ish laptops — “may be harder to come by.” A report on holiday tech inventory this past week by the New York Times basically concurred, noting that consumers should expect fewer laptops (and fewer deals) on machines in the sub-$400 price range.

Elsewhere, Walmart was out of stock after offering the iPhone 13 for a $0 down on a monthly installment plan, and with an AT&T or Verizon service plan. (Check the button below for restocks.) Things were looking better at Best Buy, where a 128 GB device could be had for $100 off list for a one-time payment of $700, and with either a new AT&T line or account. Last we checked, things were solid if you were in the market for a new, $130 pair of Nike’s best-selling Air Max 90 Premium men’s shoes. Stock was also good, as of publication, for the on-sale Nike men’s Dri-Fit zip jacket, one of the featured sportswear items from our comprehensive Black Friday preview guide.

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