How the electronics industry is responding to Coronavirus


2020 has been a crazy year already. From Australian bushfires to climate emergencies to US trade tariffs, the start of the decade hasn’t been very positive. Not only this, within the last few months there has been something much worse brewing – the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

It was the 30th of January 2020 when the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency”. The virus first broke out in Wuhan in late December 2019, which spread like wildfire – causing almost 4,700 casualties in less than three months. The virus has now been confirmed in over 116 countries and has infected over 126,430 people worldwide. On the 11th of March, the WHO confirmed the Coronavirus a pandemic and the infection rate is rising rapidly.

So how is this pandemic affecting the electronics industry?

The IPC, a trade association for electronics manufacturers, anticipates at least a five-week product shipment delay from suppliers due to the coronavirus epidemic, according to a survey conducted by IPC. The group says that shipping delays from China and other countries where the virus has spread are already having negative impacts on manufacturers. Roughly 65% of manufacturers report that their suppliers expect, on average, a three-week delay. However, electronics manufacturers expect delays to be longer than those their suppliers are currently quoting. On average, executives expect shipment delays to be at least five weeks.

“The delays will likely have ripple effects for the rest of the year,” said John Mitchell, IPC’s president and CEO. “The longer China is affected by the epidemic, and the more it spreads to other parts of the world, the supply chain will experience more and varied strains and disruptions.”

Let’s hear what the industry professionals have to say:

SOS Electronic, a distributor of electronic components for industrial production: “At this time, we have not detected any specific interruptions within our supply chain. However, delivery dates for certain products may ultimately be affected in the future. Therefore, we cannot guarantee them with certainty, and we encourage customers to place new orders in time to avoid coronavirus problems that may affect their business.”

Mouser Electronics, an electronic components distributor: “We have restricted all travels to Asia and within Asia. We have recently also stopped all travels to Italy and are limiting all other travels to Europe, within Europe and to/from USA. It is highly likely that we will see very few people flying for at least the next month, unless under exceptional circumstances, and we see the same from most of our supplier partners. As the situation changes, we will review.”

Digi Key, a US-based electronic components distributor: “Our business model positions us with substantial inventory to offer minimal disruption to our customers, and we have worked closely with our multiple carrier partners to mitigate impact on cargo plans. We’re in constant communication with our suppliers.”


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