Market Research

Coronavirus Forces Personal Computing Devices and Smartphones into Temporary Decline

All categories of computing devices, including tablets, desktops, workstations, laptops and smartphones, will be impacted in 2020 by the Coronavirus and its hit on the supply chain and economies. According to market research firm IDC, the impact is expected to be short-term.

2020 was supposed to have been a recovery year for the smartphone market. However, shipments of smartphones are now expected to decline 10.6 percent year over year in the first half of 2020. For the full year, the market is expected to decline 2.3 percent.

"COVID-19 became yet another reason to extend the current trend of smartphone market contraction, dampening growth in the first half of the year. While China, the largest smartphone market, will take the biggest hit, other major geographies will feel the hit from supply chain disruptions. Component shortages, factory shutdowns, quarantine mandates, logistics, and travel restrictions will create hindrances for smartphone vendors to produce handsets and roll out new devices. The overall scenario is expected to stabilize from the third quarter of the year as the COVID-19 situation hopefully improves and 5G plans pick up the pace globally," said Sangeetika Srivastava, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, in a prepared statement.

IDC is currently predicting that the worldwide market will return to growth in 2021, driven in large part by the growth of 5G.

Meanwhile on the personal computing front, desktops, notebooks, workstations and tablets will take a similarly large hit. In the first quarter, personal computing devices are expected to decline 8.2 percent. That decline will increase to 12.7 percent in the second quarter as existing supplies are depleted and the impact of coronavirus on the supply chain is felt more acutely. IDC is currently predicting that the impact will be less severe in the second half of the year, though the market will still be in a decline.

Coronavirus Forces Personal Computing Devices and Smartphones into Temporary Decline

"There's no doubt that 2020 will remain challenged as manufacturing levels are at an all-time low and even the products that are ready to ship face issues with logistics," added Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, in a prepared statement. "Lost wages associated with factory shutdowns and the overall reduction in quality of life will further the decline in the second half of the year as demand will be negatively impacted."

According to IDC: “Assuming the spread of the virus subsides in 2020, IDC anticipates minor growth in 2021 as the market returns to normal with growth stemming from modern form factors such as thin and light notebooks, detachable tablets, and convertible laptops. Many commercial organizations are expected to refresh their devices and move towards these modern form factors in an effort to attract and retain a younger workforce. Meanwhile, consumer demand in gaming as well as the rise in cellular-enabled PCs and tablets will also help provide a marginal uplift.”

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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