Amazon is unfortunately pushing back the Amazon Prime shipping dates of many items, a consequence of its new priority on “essential” household goods.
If you haven’t already stocked your home office, this means the tech you may need for your new work-from-home setup may be delayed by a month or more, at least via Amazon. There are alternatives, though, including good old brick-and-mortar stores.
Some Amazon tech products are delayed for weeks
Dig deep enough into the tech bins on Amazon’s site, and you’ll see listings like this dual-HDMI USB-C hub, a perfect addition for a dual-display work-from-home setup. The hub, listed as in stock and Fulfilled by Amazon, will ship to Prime members in about a month, on Tuesday, April 21. That appears to be the case for many tech products across the site.
Recode, which noted the Prime delays Sunday evening, reported that some products were being delivered in a five-day window, but others were also being pushed out into longer shipping windows. Tech appears to be a category that’s getting the short end of this stick. (Amazon did not respond to a request for comment by PCWorld.)
Amazon has been public about its challenges and its changes in priorities to address critical needs during the spread of coronavirus. An Amazon blog post from March 13 said, “we’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers. This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual.” A letter from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on March 21 defined more closely the kinds of items being prioritized: “essential items like household staples, sanitizers, baby formula, and medical supplies.”
Here are the tech products that Amazon is delaying
A wide swath of work-from-home and DIY PC gear appears to be affected.
As we sampled Amazon’s listings, we began with the sort of tech gear you’d assume that would always be available: USB-C hubs, ethernet cables, HDMI cables, even an “Amazon’s Choice”-listed Seagate 2TB external hard drive. At press time, all of the products we sampled from each category were scheduled to ship on April 21, just under a month out. And it’s not just peripherals: WD’s 1TB WD Blue internal SSD also has been pushed out a month, even with Prime membership. Spinning internal hard drives like this WD 4TB NAS drive are also subject to the same April 21 ship date, as are USB keys. Flash cards for digital cameras appear to be similarly affected.
From there, we moved to some core PC components, and the news is grim there also: all the motherboards we clicked, such as this MSI Z390-A PRO motherboard, also were scheduled to ship in about a month. Microprocessors like the Ryzen 5 3600 were also pushed out for the same period.
On Amazon, printers also are subject to the new April ship dates. If you’re desperate, try browsing through the “other sellers” listings, some of which appear to be offering more convenient ship dates in a few days, like this HP OfficeJet Pro 8025.
Printer ink may be a mixed bag: while this HP 63 ink 2-cartridge package was scheduled to ship in three days time, this Brother TN660 toner cartridge was scheduled to ship on April 21. All of the printer paper we clicked on ships on April 21, too.
Even Amazon’s own AmazonBasics gear has been affected, as this HDMI-cable three-pack will ship to Prime users as late as May 15, once it’s back in stock on April 7. But here’s a tip: If you can’t find a new product in stock, it may be available as part of Amazon’s restock or “Renewed” program. While Amazon says that this Asus ROG Strix X570-F motherboard will ship in late April, for example, the Renewed version will ship this week, Amazon says.
Here’s what Amazon still has in stock
If you’re a parent working from home and you’ve discovered that your ancient laptop or Chromebook has given up the ghost, there’s good news: Quite a few, if not all of the laptops Amazon has for sale are available—they’ll just ship in about four days, not immediately.
A good example is this popular Acer Aspire 5: it’s currently scheduled to ship by March 27. The bad news is that they’re still being snapped up; in the Acer Aspire example, the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 versions are listed as being out of stock. (Don’t despair: this second Aspire 5 has a 10th-gen Intel Core chip inside for not much more, and it’s still on track to arrive within four days.)
Chromebooks appear to be under a bit more pressure, with ship dates pushing out to next week in some cases. For example, this Lenovo 11.6-inch Chromebook will ship as late as April 1. It also appears to be fairly common to find popular Chromebooks, like the ASUS C100PA-DB01 Chromebook Flip, available only via third-party sellers.
Displays are also a mixed bag. While this HP 1200p display has been pushed out to late April, there seemed to be a number of display options shipping in the short term such as this MSI Optix 34-inch ultrawide, available by the weekend. Generic 1080p displays like this Viewsonic 22-inch IPS display were also in stock and shipping soon, which means that if you’re in the market to add a second display to your WFH setup—and you should!—you might want to act fast.
Here’s where to look for tech gear right now
A year ago, Amazon’s efficient supply chain meant that they could ship everything to everyone. Now, the company has refocused its priorities.
That means that you might be better off looking at a more tech-focused supplier. Newegg doesn’t publish shipping dates on its product pages, but Best Buy generally promises specific ship dates on its product pages, as it’s done for this USB-C hub. In Best Buy’s case, the ship time is just a few days. (As another example, this Asus ROG Strix B450 motherboard ships in three days, Asus said.) You can also pick up products from Best Buy stores, though it’s only offering “curbside” pickup for safety’s sake.
Amazon has traditionally offered exceptional convenience as a source for electronic goods as well as hand sanitizer. But for now, alternative stores might be the best source for your tech gear. Here’s hoping that they don’t follow suit and delay delivery times, too.