The prices of PC parts have been very volatile over the past few months. COVID-19 halted the production of some parts like SSDs and GPUs, which caused the prices for these components to go up. Once production returned to normal, the market wasn’t absorbing the available supplies as quickly as it used to. There is a definite mismatch between supply and demand right now.
Price volatility, however, didn’t affect some parts that serve specific purposes. Some motherboards, for instance, remain in high demand because of the performance to value ratio that they offer. B450 motherboards are the perfect example: they remain in high demand, despite the availability of B550 motherboards today.
That steady demand has the potential of driving prices up; it is already starting for some components, including B450. Supply is not going to change as wildly, which means there is a serious risk of PC parts becoming a lot more expensive in the future.
The theory is nothing new. A similar phenomenon has happened in other industries before, with the ticket industry being the most obvious example. Have you ever heard about ticket scalping? This is a practice that dates back to the days of offline ticket sales and live performances.
Ticket scalping today is a lot more sophisticated. Scalpers use bots and data mining tools to find the most profitable tickets to buy. They then resell those tickets to actual customers with a margin added to the prices.
The higher the demand for those tickets, the higher the margin will be. A $50 ticket for a live performance can sell for a whopping $2,500 to the right customer. Even smaller margins are lucrative enough when you consider the number of tickets that a scalper can buy and sell.
Bots make this entire business more scalable too. Rather than manually searching for tickets and buying them at different prices, scalpers can automate the whole process using bots and proxies. Target websites – usually ticket sites – are also monitored more closely.
Most ticket sites support automated checkouts and digital tickets, allowing bots to parse data from confirmation emails and automatically resell tickets as soon as they are purchased. There is no need to build a manual database of available tickets.
If the flow of ticket scalping looks familiar, it is because the same method is now being used by sneakerheads who scalp limited edition sneakers from top sites. Rather than manually waiting for a sneaker to become available, scalpers automatically monitor sneaker sites for new releases.
As soon as the items become available, bots will start generating transactions and using their automated checkout features to snatch sneakers. They can even be programmed to buy a set of sizes or variations depending on availability. Sneaker scalpers can then resell the purchased sneakers at a huge markup.
This is not a unique occurrence. We are starting to see bots in other markets too, particularly markets where supply is limited. Collectibles, books, even everyday items in short supply (such as masks and hand sanitizers in today’s market) are targets for scalping using bots and proxies.
There are reasons why scalping is becoming more common in today’s market. One of the reasons is the fact that scalping with bots is not as technical or complicated as many think. The tools are readily available. You can use data scraping tools to get plenty of data about items and the market in general.
Data scraping, or web scraping, is also easier with the help of proxies. Experts from Smartproxy explain all about using proxies for web scraping on their blog. Reliable proxy networks, with thousands of IP addresses, are not only more available but are also more affordable for individual users. Anonymizing scraping traffic is no longer a difficult task to do; you don’t even have to know programming to do it yourself.
The combination is deadly in certain markets. Bots targeting sneaker sites are more sophisticated than ever. They take the fun out of hunting for limited edition shoes and waiting in line for that special item. Almost all sneakerheads now use bots so that they have the same opportunity to get the unique shoes they want.
It may not be long before bots start to target PC parts. That could potentially drive up the prices of PC parts, especially for popular components in high demand. Bots targeting newly released components will start appearing soon after that. Experts are predicting similar trends in other markets, including gadgets and tech.
Soon, you may have to use bots to get the PC parts that you want at the best prices. In fact, you may have to build a PC to run bots just to be able to get parts to build a PC.