What does 2023 look like for Raspberry Pi stock? (Non-commercial customers)

Raspberry Pi has just released an optimistic outlook for non-business customers looking to buy stock in 2023.

Writing this on Dec. 12, 2022, CEO Eben Upton has spelled out various forecasts for 2023.

Here’s the TL;DR:

  • Expect more single-unit, non-commercial availability
  • In order of sequence, expect the Zero/Zero W, Pi 3A+, Pi 4 to become available as we get deeper into 2023
  • Expect a $5 increase for the Zero and Zero W’s recommended retail price.
  • Zero 2 W to remain at $15; Pi expecting 50K to 100K of RP3A0 in Q1 2023.
  • CM3, Pi 3B/+, CM4 are going to be scarce for individuals

More single-unit sales to non-commercial customers

“As a thank-you to our army of very patient enthusiast customers in the run-up to the holiday season this year, we’ve been able to set aside a little over a hundred thousand units, split across Zero W, 3A+ and the 2GB and 4GB variants of Raspberry Pi 4, for single-unit sales,” Upton said.

These boards are flowing into Approved Resellers such as Buyzero.de. We have a play-by-play stock update from our perspective here (in Germany).

For reference, Upton said in another interview that they are producing “fewer than 7 million” units this year.

In 2023, Upton said Raspberry Pi expects to gradually increase the fraction of their output they dedicate to single-unit sales until they’re back to the situation pre-pandemic.

“The chip allocations we’ve received for next year mean that by the end of the third quarter, the channel will have recovered to its equilibrium stocking level, with hundreds of thousands of units available at any given time,” Upton said.

Upton expects the Zero and Zero W to be the first to come back into general availability, then the Pi 3A+, then various Pi 4 versions.

Pi Zero/Zero W see $5 increase

The Raspberry Pi Zero will go from $5 to $10 and the Pi Zero W will go from $10 to $15.

“There is an upside here, though: once Zero products return to volume availability in 2023, we no longer expect to see the single-unit limitations that have been a feature of Zero since its launch in 2015 — you’ll be able to buy as many as you want at a time,” he said.

Upton mentioned to Christopher Barnatt of Explaining Computers that the Zero has always had sale quantity limits because it has always been built when there’s spare manufacturing capacity as a capacity filler. With the price increase, it lets Raspberry Pi “open the taps and treat the Zero like a regular product.”

Recovery expected as we get deeper into 2023

Upton expects:

  • A “lean first quarter”
  • Recovery to pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter
  • “Unlimited” in the second half of 2023.

“For a variety of reasons, we leave 2022 with much better visibility of our future silicon supply chain than we entered with,” he said. “We’ve made some changes to make sure that inventory-building behaviour which would otherwise prolong the shortage for everybody else can’t take place.”

In the interview with Barnatt, Upton mentioned that he’s 80 per cent certain that Raspberry Pi is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

He sees these changes coming:

Q1 is going to be lean and “not materially better than quarters that we have seen recently”

  • Pi 3, Pi 4 will be a constrained quarter

Q2 is a “pre-pandemic quarter” as Raspberry Pi will build “2 million devices”

The problem is backlogs here, so Raspberry Pi has to be careful with their management of supply because of shortage psychology.

“But the problem of course is you’ve got backlogs so … even though we’re back to what would be an equilibrium — assuming we’ve not grown which I think we may have done — but [even if] it’s … in equilibrium, a good quarter will still require careful management because of the psychology associated with being in a shortage.”

To avoid having supply leakages to scalpers, Raspberry Pi will continue managing sales.

Industrial customers will continue to see “active management” which is where Raspberry Pi asks businesses their true demand and not their predicted demand.

Hobbyists will continue to see quantity limits.

“Q3 onwards will be fine”

No further comment from Upton except to say that the third quarter will be “Q3 Nirvana”.

What about the Pi Zero 2 W?

Upton said little about the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W in the news post, but in the comments, he eluded to the Pi Zero 2’s future.

“This is something else that will improve through 2023,” he said.

Raspberry Pi is expecting to receive 50,000 to 100,000 units of the RP3A0 system-in-package for the Zero 2 W in the first quarter of 2023 and they plan to keep the Zero 2 W at $15.

“Though we have pretty thin margins at that price point. It’s consistent with our historical practice of bringing new products in at the same price as their predecessor (albeit we got there via a round-about route this time),” Upton said.

Since the Zero W is going to be $15 after the $5 price increase, a commenter asked why would anyone buy the Zero W if they could buy a Zero 2 W for the same price. Upton replied,

“We expect most non-industrial Zero W volume to migrate to Zero 2W in due course, and that Zero 2W will be available without constraints. But that will happen later in 2023.”

Could the price of the Zero 2 W increase? Upton reiterated that Raspberry Pi is keeping the prices of the Zero 2 W at $15, but a price increase is possible.

“We’re keeping Zero 2W at $15. Note that 3A+ costs $25 (1A+ is $20), so there would be scope to move Zero 2W up if we saw further margin degradation.”

Should you buy a Zero or wait for a Zero 2 W? Read our mega-article’s comparison.

CM3, Pi 3 stock to recover, but be “hoovered up”

Upton said that he expects “single-unit supply of CM3/3+ is likely to be one of the later things to recover, perhaps in late Q2 or early Q3. For products like this, with a significant industrial customer base, it’s very hard to stop them getting hoovered up into the grey market.”

It’s the same story with the Pi 3B and 3B+,

“Some 3B and 3B+ will make their way into the single-unit market over the next few months, but as I’ve said in response to other posts they’re so popular in industrial applications that it’s hard to keep them from being hoovered up by bots. Doing our best!,” Upton said.

Upton also said the 3B+ will remain in production until at least January 2026, “(and probably much longer)”.

CM4 to be focused on industrial customers

Raspberry Pi is focusing the production of CM4 to industrial customers, but they will try to get some single-unit sales out.

“CM4 production is dedicated to the industrial and commercial market, though we’ll continue to get some volume to (e.g.) BerryBase for single-unit sales,” Upton said.

A commenter, Bill Dunn, said that “I can’t remember the last time I actually saw any actual stock in the USA, Europe (Germany usually) seems to have a few most often.”

To which Upton replied,

“CM4 is mostly a commercial/industrial product… But yes, we could do with finding a single-unit outlet in North America.”

Dunn said that, because he has to buy from Europe, he finds it hard to pay anywhere close to the CM4’s recommended retail price.

Don’t expect a Pi 5 in 2023

Upton told Barnatt that 2023 is a “recovery year” and that the pandemic has slowed progress down.

Upton said Raspberry Pi would have to focus on two aspects: supply capability and product cannibalization.

Supply capability

Apparently, silicon output isn’t the only supply chain that Raspberry Pi has to think about.

“There’s an assumption that a Pi 5 would need to be on a new process node. So you might say well how does that cannibalize the existing wave of 28 or 40 nanometers but you’ve got to remember these shortages aren’t all about silicon. Some of them are about packaging some of them are about test capacity, some of them are about substrates,” he said.

Product cannibalization

Upton also said that Raspberry Pi has to ensure that the Pi 5’s introduction does not jeopardize the recovery of the Pi 4 or the Pi 3.

“I think going to be very ginger about how we look to move forward. But the good news is I think the second half of next year [and] 2024 onwards, some of those things start to abate and that’s the point where we can start to think about what might be a sensible Raspberry Pi 5 platform

More stock and predictions for 2023

CLICK HERE: Play-by-play stock outlook from an Approved Reseller in Germany

CLICK HERE: Raspberry Pi’s future according to Eben Upton

Leave a Comment