One of the first industries to be impacted by the global pandemic, Covid 19, was the technology industries, with the initial outbreak in China directly affecting not only the facilities producing parts and components, but also the distribution market. Take for example the smartphone market; vendors shipped 37.4 million fewer devices in February 2020 compared with February 2019 the most significant yearly drop in the industry to date.
Now to add to what was already a struggling sector with a lack of components and resources, began the nationwide working from home period. Companies were being forced to move their staff into work-from-home environment arrangements during March 2020 and whilst the demand for ICT equipment increased dramatically, the country faced an impending shortage of ICT equipment, with the waiting times for orders exceeding three months. Both individuals and businesses were forced to find other solutions. Schools, particularly primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges, were amongst those who struggled immensely to provide for students to continue learning, feeling the pressure to continue their pupil’s education if they could not provide support.
Although many businesses are now beginning to reopen, and employees are surfacing from months of a working from home environment, the ICT sales industry has taken a massive hit to the predicted growth, with the market only expected to experience growth of around 14.5 percent in 2020, compared to the 89 percent increase back in 2019.
In more recent news however, as of October 2020, businesses and suppliers are appearing to finally be back on track with the supplying and distribution of ICT equipment after such an overwhelming demand. Data collected from Canalys shows how the global PC market has climbed 12.7 percent in the third quarter of 2020, reaching 79.2 million shipments. With popular brand Lenovo reigning top place with an impressive 19,270 million shipments, followed closely by HP with 18,660 million.
On the other hand, the working from home situation did call for a surge in remote working and conferencing, applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, with Zoom experiencing an increase of over double its users in March this year. Microsoft Teams has also recently reported over a 50 percent increase in users, with over 115 million daily users.
Whilst the technology market has taken a hit in terms of sales, the technology industry as a whole has had to rise to the occasion, recognising the important role that technology has played in predicting and containing the spread of Covid-19. The industry was given a significant opportunity to transform the delivery of healthcare and discover a demand for new and emerging technology during the crisis and in the future. A prime example being the NHS track and trace app, which alerts people to new cases in their area, and provides help and guidance should they be experiencing symptoms themselves. There is also hope that NHS Digital will be able to develop an algorithm to identify high risk patients by applying various demographic information.
To conclude, there is no definitive insight into the full extent of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the technology sector, however the rapid adaptations the industry has been forced to make are definitely notable, as proved by the array of ways that tech has saved thousands of jobs, allowed businesses to thrive online, at home, and helped the public feel safe and secure during this difficult time.
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