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The best alternatives to Amazon for buying tech right now


While Amazon has traditionally been a one-stop shop for tech gear, its mid-April delays are making other retailers viable options for getting what you want with a shorter lead time. Online stores like Newegg and B&H are stepping up, alongside (gasp!) actual brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy and Office Depot.

Alas, the old way of buying tech—looking for the absolute lowest price—is being set aside, as consumers are willing to pay a bit more for any products actually in stock. While we can’t guarantee a particular retailer will have the specific product you’re looking for, all of the ones we checked appeared to have a decent assortment of items in stock that we haven’t been able to get through Amazon.

Why you can’t find anything on Amazon

The watchword right now isn’t so much price as availability. According to retail analyst firm NPD, productivity hardware saw “historic” sales increases over the first two weeks of March, as more regions or entire states started issuing shelter-in-place orders. NPD vice president and technology analyst Stephen Baker noted that sales of computer monitors to consumers almost doubled during the first two weeks of March, versus a year ago. Mice, keyboards, and notebook PC sales increased by 10 percent.  Businesses are buying, too: Corporate notebook sales were up 30 percent in the last week of February, and then 50 percent for the first two weeks of March.

The buying spree has put a severe and unexpected crimp in the tech supply chain. Notebooks and monitors are still shipping from Amazon, though the company has said it’s prioritizing household goods. A survey of Amazon products PCWorld recently conducted showed a wide swath of tech products delayed until late April, and that’s still the case, generally. We are seeing more short-term availability of tech goods than before, though not on a par with Amazon’s typical performance. 

amazon usb c hub edited Mark Hachman / IDG

Right now, even products listed as available from Amazon Prime are typically a week or so out in terms of availability.

Newegg: A good place to start

Newegg is making an aggressive pitch to replace Amazon as the one-stop shop for tech gear during the work-from-home mandates. “Newegg is very much open for business with little to no interruption,” said Anthony Chow, the global chief executive of Newegg, when asked for comment. “Sales across the board—especially tech products—are up substantially in recent weeks. In light of that, we’ve been working to secure even more inventory to keep up with the demand, much of which stems from those who need hardware and other products to work from home.”

newegg deals page Mark Hachman / IDG

Newegg caters more to the hardcore enthusiast than the work-from-home crowd, but there’s still deals to be had.

Like Amazon, Newegg is a storefront for many sellers, and that’s likely why Newegg’s inventory is broader and more available right now across a variety of categories than it is at other retailers. Newegg has built in quite a bit of wiggle room, though.

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