Black Friday is the biggest sales event of the year, but stock issues could limit how much is spent this year. The ongoing global chip shortage means many of the most popular tech products are expected to be in short supply until well into 2022.

Almost anything that requires processing power is affected, but there are some specific products where shortages are being most keenly felt. With Black Friday sales events well underway at many retailers, here's what you need to know.

Games consoles

There’s only one place to start. The PS5 & Xbox Series X and Series S have been extremely difficult to buy since they launched in November 2020, but don’t expect stock issues to be resolved anytime soon.

Xbox Gaming Vice President Phil Spencer has indicated (in an interview with The Wrap) that the chip shortages affecting consoles could persist until well into 2022. With demand continuing to outstrip supply, Black Friday deals are extremely unlikely. In fact, you’re more likely to have to pay over the asking price on sites such as eBay.

Xbox Series X
Good luck trying to get your hands on the Xbox Series X

The consoles are occasionally restocked, but usually sell out again within minutes. Check out our dedicated articles for the best possible chance of getting your hands on one:

CPUs and GPUs

Given the chip shortage is the main issue here, it’s no surprise to learn that desktop CPUs are extremely difficult to buy. Upgrading your PC to the Ryzen 5000 Series continues to be tricky, despite AMD’s latest processors going on sale many months ago. Despite having only just launched, Intel Alder Lake CPUs are already out of stock at various retailers.

According to AMD CEO Lisa Su (via CNBC), these issues are likely to persist until the second half of 2022. For Intel, the outlook isn’t likely to be any more optimistic. Issues extend to graphics cards, with many Nvidia GPUs in extremely short supply. The articles below give you the best chance of getting your hands on a recent CPU or GPU:

Laptops and tablets

At the start of the pandemic, a combination of huge increase in demand and reduced output meant it was very hard to find a new laptop. The situation has improved significantly since then, but it’s far from back to normal. Back in May, Acer indicated there would be “severe” impacts on production capabilities until 2022 (via The Guardian), and that outlook is unlikely to have changed since.

Supply chain issues and the delay between announcement and release of Windows 11 means there have been fewer new laptops this year. But of those which have come to market, stock is good. Almost all the entries in our two main laptop charts are available to buy:

It’s a similar story where tablets are concerned, with one high-profile exception. Apple’s updated model of the regular iPad (2021) has quickly sold out at many retailers, and stocks have been slow to replenish. It’s nothing like the situation with the latest consoles, but you will have to act fast if you want to pick one up.

iPad 10.2in 2021
The latest regular iPad remains difficult to buy

Smartphones

Phones have been largely unaffected by chip shortage, although that’s due in part to reduced demand, especially among flagships. However, it does mean that almost every entry in our three main round-ups is currently available to buy:

Appliances and smart home

Stocks of most smart home gadgets remains healthy, even on products that have just launched. It’s a similar story for smaller appliances such as coffee machines and smart scales, but problems arise if you’re looking for something more substantial.

Supply chain issues mean it’s difficult to get white goods such as fridge/freezers and washing machines delivered. Even for those that are in stock, it’s taking much longer than usual for them to arrive. Don’t expect the situation to be resolved anytime soon.

Despite shortages of some products, there are still plenty of useful Black Friday deals already available. Check out our full Black Friday guide for the best offers in the UK and US right now.