What do the coronavirus pandemic and the Bitcoin hype have in common? Both are hot topics in the current news coverage. And in both cases, they are important contributing factors to the graphics card boom that has recently kept the IT market bustling.

Karlsruhe, 23/03/2021 – The ongoing lockdown continues to force people to stay at home, making games consoles and PCs a welcome distraction at the moment. But the home entertainment trend is also having a significant impact on the graphics card segment: current data from GfK puts sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2020 in Germany at 64 percent compared to the same period last year. This increasing demand is driving up the prices for gaming accessories immensely.

Several factors driving demand

However, there is another contributing factor putting pressure on the market: since autumn last year, the price of Bitcoins has shot up, making it lucrative again for crypto miners to invest in the corresponding hardware. For Bitcoin mining, which is the process of producing the cryptocurrency, professional miners need huge amounts of computing power. In addition to a suitable computer, a powerful graphics card is also needed – which is causing demand to rise further. The market is becoming unbalanced and hobby gamers, most of whom have much smaller budgets, are losing out. Manufacturers like Nvidia, whose customers from the gaming scene can hardly get their hands on the cards, are therefore trying to counteract their use for mining purposes. Graphics cards with very high performance, such as the Geforce RTX 3060, are deliberately designed in such a way that they slow down mining.

A current analysis by the ITscope platform also confirms the graphics card boom: while the click numbers between the first and third quarters of 2020 within the top 10 graphics cards of the ITscope platform were still at an average value of 833 clicks, this grew by 160 percent to around 2,170 clicks in Q4 2020 and even to 3,200 clicks in Q1 2021 – a dizzying growth of more than 280 percent.

The price is not unaffected

It was predictable that this development would not pass without having an impact on the price: the Wholesale Selling Price (WSP) of the top 10 graphics cards in Q1 and Q2 was €470 on average, but in Q3 and Q4 this rose to €750. The jump in the current quarter, however, is another enormous increase: the average WSP of the last few weeks is almost €1,100 – a further growth of almost 50 percent.

This price trend becomes evident when looking at the RX 5700 XT GAMING X from MSI, which has been listed since 2019. Here, apart from minor outliers, the WSP is very stable between €350 and €400 – until February this year, when the price curve jumped to over €1,100 within a very short space of time. The product click history shown below also illustrates the growing interest in the RX 5700 XT GAMING X from November last year.

Price/stock level/status history and product click history for the MSI RX 5700 XT GAMING X (SKU: V381-032R), April 2020 to March 2021

Although new releases are also benefiting from the current boom in the graphics card range, this is even more true for older models – such as MSI’s GTX 1050 TI GAMING X 4G from 2016, which has recently been in high demand despite being an older model. Similar to other graphics cards, the GTX 1050’s previously extremely stable WSP jumped from €120 to currently almost €300.

 

Price/stock level/status history and product click history for the MSI GTX 1050 TI GAMING X 4G (SKU: V335-001R), April 2020 to March 2021

At this point in time, the rising infection figures do not give the impression that this situation will change in the near future. However, if the lockdown is lightened in the coming months, the warmer temperatures in spring could lead to more outdoor activities and interest in home entertainment could decline again. Bitcoin, on the other hand, continues to develop in an exciting way: the cryptocurrency has repeatedly given cause for surprise in recent years.

You can read more about this topic in the upcoming ITscope Market Barometer for the first quarter of 2021, which will be published in our media library at the end of April.