Analysis: PS5 is going to be much harder to find in stock soon – here's why

PS5 restock
(Image credit: Future)

A PS5 restock is going to be nearly impossible to find soon, according to our long-held expert analysis, even though today, in the second half of 2021, the PlayStation 5 console is easier (read: not easy) to buy. We also predicted this dip in PS5 demand that would offer a false sense of security, but now we're seeing that millions of consumers around the world are still trying to buy the Sony console and there's an 'October deadline' looming.

It'll get much harder soon, according to our latest projections that show an increase in PS5 demand come October. People are putting off buying the Sony console, thinking it'll be easier to get soon, or appear on store shelves in 2021. On the contrary. Even if Sony were to ramp up the supply of PS5 Disc and PS5 Digital consoles, demand will skyrocket right before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Why there's an 'October deadline' to find PS5 in stock

Not to sound ominous, but you have until October 2021 to find a PS5 restock, which is when we predict PlayStation 5 demand will soar worldwide, despite PS5 console sales reaching 10 million, according to Sony.

Millions of parents will want to buy their children a PS5 in the weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday, and they haven't been added to the pool of consumers who are actively looking to buy a PS5 console. That's a scary thought.

That's why you have just two months until the ramp-up to holiday shopping kicks off at most retailers. The little Timmy's of the world haven't asked for the PS5 yet, or even if they have, many parents haven't gone searching for the console. As soon as that switch is flipped, we are going to see PS5 demand skyrocket beyond what Sony can supply, and analysts we talked to agree.

A printed sign at Walmart that tells customers PS5 and Xbox Series X are out of stock.

A printed sign at Walmart that tells customers PS5 and Xbox Series X remain out of stock in stores. (Image credit: Matt Swider / Instagram)

"I honestly don't see this shortage getting better until next year," Anshel Sag, Senior Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told TechRadar. He noted that Sony isn't the only manufacturer in the hunt for PC components to make its PS5 consoles.

"With Qualcomm and Apple taking up vast swaths of 5nm, there isn't very much capacity left for vast jumps in demand even with process node optimizations, said Sag. "There still appears to be a lot of pent-up demand in the PC gaming segment which is still red hot and suffering from the worst GPU shortage I think I've ever seen in my 15-plus-year career."

When will PS5 restock in stores in 2021?

This is the question that keeps coming our way, and the truth is that we're unlikely to see major retailers stock the PS5 in stores in 2021. There are two reasons to keep the Sony console off of store shelves, and both have to do with consumer safety.

Customers Wait In Line Outside A New York City Best Buy for a restock

PS5 in stores in 2021? There's reason to believe you won't see this until 2022. (Image credit: Future)

First, American retailers have told TechRadar that they don't want crowds rushing to their stores, only to be frustrated and milling about with no intention of buying any other product except a non-existent PS5. That's a strain on customer service and a social distancing hazard.

Second, consumers willing to do anything to grab ahold of the PS5 present security concerns. We saw this first hand when Best Buy tried to sell RTX graphics cards in stores. Fights nearly broke out and yelling by both line-jumping consumers and Best Buy employees went on for nearly an hour.

We wouldn't put it past some retailers to tease PS5 stock to lure consumers to brick-and-mortar locations for other deals come Black Friday (at a point when there are other tempting deals to sway people who can't get a PlayStation 5). But, for now, online PS5 purchases and distribution methods remain much safer, according to PS5-carrying retailers we spoke to recently.

PS5 restock frustration and mistakes

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Mr.Whiskey)

How to buy the PS5 in the next two months

PS5 demand is dipping ever-so-slightly worldwide, and more people have been able to check out of online stores in the US and UK, according to our analysis. One of the secret reasons is that some – not all – stores are becoming better at reigning in resellers and bots.

  1. Follow a PS5 restock tracker: With over 60,000 people getting a next-gen console through our links, all at MSRP or with a bundle at face value, this has become the proven method to find the PS5 in stock.
  2. Know which stores to avoid: Right now, only a few hundred have success during a Best Buy PS5 restock from our links. Bots have found a way to scoop up Best Buy and Walmart inventory before consumers have a chance.
  3. Know which stores to buy from: The GameStop PS5 restock is a better situation for US consumers, as they've created barriers to entry: bundles and a $15 membership fee. In the UK, Amazon has implemented PS5 purchases for Prime members only. That's a brilliant idea to cut down on multiple checkouts from the same account.
  4. Be open to PS5 Disc, not Digital: Too many consumers insist on buying PS5 Digital because it's slightly cheaper – $399 in the US instead of $499 for PS5 Disc. But the inventory just isn't there. Sony isn't making it nearly enough.
  5. Bundles are your best option: In the US, at least, GameStop and Antonline serve up bundles that cost more than the standalone console, but everything is at face value when you add up the cost of the games and accessories. It also cuts down on the number of resellers, as they can't easily turn a profit on bundles.

We'll continue to offer expert advice on how to buy the PS5 between now and the end of 2021, but we're giving everyone fair warning: between now and the start of October is your best chance to purchase the Sony console.

In two months' time, it's going to become much harder when parents wake up to the fact that they need this console to fulfill their child's Christmas wish list. It's at that point PS5 will become Jingle All the Way's Turbo Man and you may be duking it out with a crazed Arnold Schwarzenegger-like parent during the holiday rush.

Matt Swider