Bay Area appliance centers experience widespread shortages

Bay Area

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KRON) — If you’re shopping around for new appliances, be prepared to wait months before anything is delivered.

Appliance centers across the Bay Area are experiencing an increase in demand but a major shortage in supply.

KRON4’s Amanda Hari spoke to one store about just how long it can take.

Pre-COVID, the turn around time on a typical order here at university electric was one to two weeks.

Now there are certain items that won’t come in until February 2022.

“Pre-COVID most of our phone calls were how much does something cost? No one calls with that anymore. Can I get something? They’ve called 10 places.”

KRON4 called three appliance stores, including University Electric, who all said they have a shortage of supply.

“What we’re seeing is a 700 percent greater demand for appliances than any other time in history and a 60 percent lower ability to produce them — maybe due to social distancing or supply chain interruption.”

President of University Electric Mike Heintz says it’s not just one issue causing the backlog, but multiple problems.

That includes a shortage of supplies, companies discounting certain items and lack of workers.

Heintz said after the coronavirus stay at home order, some workers in the supply chain decided not to come back.

“One of the manufactures told me yesterday that 56,000 truck drivers did not renew their applications to drive trucks next year. It takes about 8 to 10,000 truck drivers to unload one container ship so you’ve just taken five full container ships of labor off the market.”

Heintz said if you shop around you may be able to find something but it is likely to not be the exact item you wanted.

If you have your heart set on a particular product or color you will likely have to wait.

“It’s just like Disneyland you get in line, you wait your turn and it will come. It may not be in five minutes but it more than likely will get here.”

Heintz also told me that many of the items now have smart features and require a microchip.

There is a microchip shortage as well right now because of COVID — that will likely start to impact the appliance industry as well.

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