Many of our customers may have noticed a number of products recently going out of stock. We want to explain why this is, so that you, the customer can understand the full reasons behind the issue, and what this means to your business and the ongoing effect on the mobile device repair industry as a whole.
The 2019-nCoV Coronavirus was first reported at the end of December 2019, around the same time of year as the Chinese population are mainly preparing for Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). As per usual industry practices before the shutdown between 17th January to the 3rd February, industry leaders such as iParts4U purchase enough stock to last them until the various supply chains start shipping again around mid-February. During this time many Chinese workers head to their hometowns throughout China, where the virus was able to quickly pass from person to person, so when many of the workers returned to the cities the virus spread at a much higher rate. Because of this, the Chinese government decided to close all businesses until the 6th March and asked the Chinese people to self-isolate, in an attempt to control the spread of the virus.
The reason for this update is to give clear information and to allow customers to understand what our partners in China have communicated to us. We hope this will enable you to understand more clearly how this will affect you, what our stock will look like, and how we will be overcoming these issues over the coming months.
Our partners in China have communicated to us that they are currently aiming to return to work after the 6th March; however, this could change. As optimistic as we are, we would rather be completely transparent in this, and we highly recommend that you stock up on iPhone parts and spares for other mobile manufacturers.
Many companies in this industry have purchased enough stock to last until their standard supply chains have returned to work after the Chinese New Year; however, when 3rd February came, suppliers were not able to return to work due to the crisis, which has meant many companies ultimately fell short of stock by the end of the second week of February, which caused panic buying across the industry. When their regular supplier ran out, many looked for alternative suppliers such as iParts4U, creating an unprecedented amount of orders, which has caused a supply strain on many of us. Although we usually hold stock based on our previous sales volumes to last us through to mid-March, due to the extra orders, this has even caused us to run low on certain lines.
We have taken a number of steps to purchase parts from other sources to allow us to continue to support our growing customer base.
We understand that some suppliers in around Asia have claimed to return to work on a limited amount of staff, with the view to send any supplies they have previously had in stock to various companies throughout the rest of the world. This potentially could lead to a decline in the quality of mobile device screens coming out of China due to old stock, inferior quality parts or general quality loss due to understaffing.
We have gathered information that there will be no new materials expected to arrive in Shenzhen, before April. Many of the LCDs, backlights and touch panel materials which are used in today’s aftermarket screens are produced in and around Wuhan. As we currently understand, this is one of the highest level quarantined areas, and no materials will be shipped while the area remains in this state, which will lead to a shortage of quality materials. This will also lead to an increase in price until this issue is resolved. We have been told this will likely last until May or June 2020, when production will start to stabilise with at least a further three months before prices return to where they were before.
We are expecting substantial increases over the coming months for all parts and materials coming out of Asia from our suppliers. Although iParts4U will attempt to absorb as much of these cost increases as we can; eventually, we may need to raise prices.
iParts4U has been in this industry for many years and have built some fantastic relationships with other mobile device parts wholesalers globally. We will be working with these suppliers to ensure that our customer base can stay working with quality parts at reasonable costs.
We will be introducing new products where we are unable to supply the products we usually offer. However, we will make every effort to ensure the quality is kept to the same standard.
In a nutshell, we expect many repair shops will need to increase their prices over the coming months to cover the extra costs, we would also recommend that business stock up on parts before prices increase.
Our customer service team remains available for any questions you may have. Please feel free to call us or contact us at any time. We would also like to take this time to thank you for your support throughout this difficult time.