Although many businesses and market segments have suffered a complete business halt, the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a longer blow over time for the tech industry, with the cancellation of the main events of the year, some transferred to the online format, as well as a huge number of delays for the main scheduled product launches.

A sum of circumstances that have in turn caused a general drop in global hardware demand and shipments. This has been detailed by a new Gartner report, which estimates that total device shipments for 2020 to fall 13.6% during this year alone, adding an “absence” of more than 1.9 billion units.

To put things in perspective, a total of 2.16 billion devices were shipped last year, broken down into more than 1.7 billion mobile phones, and more than 400,000 computing devices. Two markets that will fall by up to 14.6% and 10.5%, respectively.

On the other hand, and prior to the current crisis, Gartner had predicted an increase in global shipments of smartphones adapted to the new 5G networks, which were expected to represent 11% of total mobile shipments. However, the delay in the delivery of some flagship phones, combined with a first deployment and limited coverage, stopped wider adoption.

The expected decline in the particular PC market could have been much worse

Luckily not all forecasts are bad. Gartner further noted that 2021 and 2022 may see an increase in global shipments of portable devices such as Chromebooks, laptops and tablets, as more and more people work from home, as justified by Ranjit Atwal, the audit’s senior research director:

Government blockades stemming from COVID-19 have forced companies that millions of people work from their homes […] increasing spending on new laptops, Chromebooks and tablets.

However, the same group responsible for this investigation, also expects these figures to end up replicating also in global shipments of desktop computers, that is, in a period that could extend until 2021 or 2022. And it is that according to the estimated figures by Gartner, up 48% of employees would be willing and would prefer to continue teleworking after the return to normality.


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