Avnet Insights Survey Indicates Chip Shortages Will Continue; Explores Impact on Product Design


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The global component shortage is not only extending order fulfillment and lead times, but is also having a ripple effect on product design. According to the inaugural Avnet Insights, a new survey on the trends and market forces in the electronics industry, design engineers are exploring new ways to get their products to market.

Key takeaways:

  • More than three-fourths of respondents said due to shortages, access to electronic components has been a very significant challenge.
  • Among those who have experienced a significant impact due to the electronic component shortage, a preponderance (93%) said they have experienced a major impact on longer lead times.
  • Designers are seeking additional routes to source parts, including through spot market brokers – but they have significant concerns about counterfeit control, which could compound design and quality issues over the long-term.
  • The shortages are changing the way engineers design, as 64% now say their companies are designing more based on the availability of the components rather than preference.
  • And there are likely more challenges to come. Currently, three-fourths of those experiencing production delays say they have lasted up to six months – while a strong majority of overall respondents expect lead times to worsen and prices to rise in the next year and a half, implying those delays are only set to grow.

The Avnet Insights customer survey was conducted among n=530 global engineers, 31% of which were based in the Americas; 56% in EMEA; 10% in Asia and 2% in Japan.

Components access remains a challenge, and most expect it to get worse.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents face significant challenges accessing electronic components, Avnet found. Those in telecommunications in particular are feeling the strain, as 83% of respondents in that industry reported significant challenges.

Among those who have experienced a significant impact due to the shortages, 93% said they feel this most strongly related to lead times. Behind those, respondents also say they experienced major impacts in delayed production schedules (74%) and higher prices (72%). And while the specific impact varies by industry – those in the telecommunications, aerospace and electronics industry are most likely to see an impact on pricing, for example – there are consistencies, especially as it relates to expectations for what is to come.

Among respondents who have experienced delayed production schedules, 75% say that delay has been under six months. But a strong majority of all respondents expressed concerns about lead times getting even longer and prices getting even higher (96% each) in the next year and a half.

Distribution adds value with counterfeit control and design insights.

The survey unveiled significant opportunity for distributors to address counterfeit concerns. 76% of respondents said they expect counterfeit components to increase, but another 8 in 10 (83%) emphasized that they work with distributors to lessen the chance of encountering those counterfeit parts.

When design-in components are not available, most rely on redesigned boards (55%), pin-to-pin replacements with better specs (53%) or drop-in replacements (49%). These preferences vary regionally; designers in the Americas are most likely to use drop-in replacements, with nearly three-in-four (73%) saying they have done so.

But Avnet found that availability is impacting more than just where engineers are seeking the parts for their designs – it is also impacting how they create said designs. In the wake of the shortages, two-thirds (64%) of respondents said their company is designing more based on availability of components over preference.

“The shift from designing based on first choice to designing based on first available for a prolonged period is a ripple effect from the overall shortages that could significantly impact the electronics industry,” said Peggy Carrieres, Vice President of Sales Enablement and Supplier Development. “However, it also represents an opportunity for engineers to lean on their partners with added visibility into the supply chain to ensure they are creating flexibility in their designs based on market conditions to avoid compromising quality.” 

The Avnet Insights customer survey was conducted among n=530 global engineers. Regionally, 31% of respondents were based in the Americas; 56% in EMEA; 10% in Asia and 2% in Japan. The survey was fielded online from Nov. 4 to Dec. 3, 2021 using Avnet’s global customer database.

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