Was the 2021 chip shortage real?

G. Dan Hutcheson
G. Dan Hutcheson
The Chip Insider®


Was the 2021 chip shortage real? This is the story of how the COVID Pandemic morphed into a Shortage Fever Pandemic, as the pandemic led to a shortage which turned into a glut. There were shortages on a micro level. But given the quick turn to a chip glut, was there a macro-chip shortage? … Consider that semiconductor consumption as a percent of World GDP did a round trip from … 2019 to a … peak in 2021 and will return … in 2023. The total off-road excursion amounted to 22% of all chip sales between 2020 and 2022. What's so amazing about these numbers is that in contrast to the 12% gain in total wafer area fabricated leading into the Y2K boom, the chip industry was able to blow up production by a THIRD between 2019 to 2022. Worse, according to TechInsights, inventories at the start of 2023 were a good quarter over healthy levels. So, I ask again... Was the shortage real? Or was it a classic Shortage Fever Pandemic?

“I never met a purchase order I didn’t like” — Jerry Sanders

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