Amidst the global pandemic, a spike in demand and crunch in supply has resulted in a shortage of laptops, particularly affordable ones, in the local market.
As more and more businesses and schools are moving online, so are laptops flying off the shelves. Particularly, laptops ranging between Tk 25,000 to Tk 50,000 are especially hard to find now, as the existing stocks are plummeting and new shipments are yet to arrive.
Several retailers in IDB Bhaban and Mulitplan Centre -- two most frequented destinations for tech products in Dhaka, said laptops and tablets are high on demand and low in supply for the last few months.
Shahnaj Parvin, who came to IDB Bhaban with her eight-year-old daughter, told this writer she was looking for a laptop. "We've been looking for a budget laptop for my daughter's classes, but couldn't find any device within our budget yet."
Seeing the spike in demand, some retailers are asking up to Tk 2,000 to 6,000 more than the retail prices.
Turjo Roy, a university sophomore who was on his way out from Multiplan Centre after buying a laptop, said he had to pay Tk 2,000 more than the listed price.
Owner of a renowned distributor, requesting anonymity, admitted the issue and remarked it as an "unfortunate outcome" of the pandemic.
When asked why this situation emerged, to begin with, Atiqur Rahman, country manager of Dell in Bangladesh, said, "On the supply side, due to the pandemic, we have seen the component manufacturer were not able to forecast the rise in demand globally. Also, our distributors made some conservative forecast. On the demand side, we are seeing a huge rise in the work-from-home and school-from-home trend which pushed the demand too. But we expect things to change very soon.'
Muzahid Alberuni Suzon, Director of leading tech product distributors Smart Technologies, echoed Atiqur.
"Due to the worldwide production shortage, we are seeing a rise in demand which has grown around 30 percent. It's a shame we haven't been able to capture that market. But we are optimistic of catching up hopefully in a month or so," he said.
Local tech conglomerate Walton too has seen an uptick on their laptop sales and are able to meet their demand. "We are seeing a growth of around 20 percent per month for the last several months. We are comfortably meeting the demand and there's no shortage of supplies. We are even offering a laptop exchange offer now," said Liakat Ali, CEO of Walton Computer.