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While the pandemic is having a devastating effect on the mobile phone market, consumers working and studying from home are finding they lack essential items—or need to update aging equipment—and are boosting the industry with their buying, according to market research company NPD group.
“Whether working or learning from home, productivity hardware is required, and with many Americans settling into this new reality, we saw historic sales increase over the first two weeks of March,” said Stephen Baker, NPD group’s vice president of technology and mobile.
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NPD reports that, compared to the same period last year, router sales increased 29 percent, mouse sales increased 31 percent, laptops and desktops were both up 40 percent, and keyboards saw a 64 percent jump. Several items experienced sales increases of over 100 percent, including docking stations (118 percent), PC headsets (134 percent), PC monitors (138 percent), and webcams (179 percent).
Speaking to Yahoo Finance, IDC research vice president Linn Huang said most of the devices being bought were leftovers from the winter season when retailers stocked up over fears that the China-US trade war would impact sales. He warned supply might be strained in Q2 as factories in China slowly return to standard output following the Covid-19 outbreak, causing a lag time in making device parts.
“By the time we go into Q3,” Huang said, “we could be months into a global recession, and so we’re concerned about how consumer confidence will track then.”
Another industry benefiting from people staying at home is the video game and console market. After experiencing drastic declines in recent months as people wait for their successors, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One saw a surge in sales following lockdowns around the world. Video games sales, both downloads and physical, were also up.