Consumers are facing price rises and shortages of products from TVs and mobile phones to cars and games consoles as a global shortage in semiconductors grows. However, although production is back to normal, a new surge in demand driven by changing habits fuelled by the pandemic means that it is now reaching crisis point.Car manufacturers investing in tech-heavy electric vehicles, the boom in sales of TVs and home computers and launch of new games consoles and 5G-enabled mobile phones have all driven demand.Ford recently cancelled shifts at two car plants and said profits could be hit by up to $2.5bn this year due to chip shortages, while Nissan is idling output at plants in Mexico and the US. General Motors said it could face a $2bn profit hit.Last month, Sony, which along with other console makers has struggled with stock shortages over the last year, said it might not hit sales targets for the new PS5 this year because of the semiconductor supply issue. “It is incredible that Samsung sells $56bn of semiconductors to others, and consumes $36bn of them itself, finds it may have to delay the launch of one of its own products,” says Campling. Car manufacturers, who cut chip orders as vehcle sales fell last year, found themselves at the back of the queue when they tried to reorder when the market rebounded.
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