In a nutshell: We've discussed ad nauseam how it's virtually impossible to buy new tech products at retail this holiday season. There are plenty of theories as to what's driving the scarcity of certain electronics, including the pandemic and retailers moving all sales online, but perhaps there's more to it.

According to ExtremeTech, the semiconductor supply chain was already operating at full tilt before the pandemic. As we became more reliant than ever on tech for work and entertainment over the last several months, demand for tech gear soared. When doors started shutting for Huawei in September, other manufacturers like Xiaomi swept in and increased their own component orders.

On the flip side, the supply chain also got wrecked due to people being sent home to help slow the spread of the virus. Take disrupted supply, put it in a blender with heightened demand, and you've got the perfect recipe for the situation we're currently experiencing.

Fortunately, relief could be on the way in the New Year.

The publication notes that production of 200mm wafers is expected to increase by 220,000 wafers per month in 2021, boosting worldwide output to 6.4 million wafers per month. What's more, demand for goods that don't have a high turnover rate like laptops will undoubtedly fall, freeing up even more silicon for use in other gadgets.

Image credit: Marco photo