Report: Mobile Computing Device Shipments Make a Comeback Amid COVID-19 and After

Fueled by the move to remote work driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile computing device shipments like laptops have rebounded after years of decline, a trend that is expected to continue, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics.

Though many people have returned to the office and more are expected to over the next several months, hybrid work environments will continue to be more prevalent post-COVID than pre-COVID, said the report, pointing out that many employees report tangible benefits from remote work and are increasingly demanding more flexible work environments.

By the beginning of 2022, the demand for mobile devices will soften due to supply chain issues and wider vaccine distribution, the report predicts. But household ownership will continue to grow through 2026, when it will reach 39% of total households globally, and the Windows 11 / post-pandemic refresh cycle will push the market to new highs of $241 billion in revenue in 2025 from $197 billion in 2020.

“The newest wave of COVID-19 infections will continue to affect key markets and consumer behavior, resulting in sustained high demand, however there is risk that supply chain disruptions will emerge from time to time until the 2023 timeframe,” added Chirag Upadhyay, industry analyst, in a prepared statement. “Demand patterns will also re-adjust to the new reality that work-from-home (WFH), virtual learning options, and hybrid work schedules are more suitable than previously thought, boosting mobile computing device shipments to 458 million units in 2026.”

Strategy Analytics researchers note that smartphones get the most attention in the mobile computing device segment, but the pandemic proved that laptops and detachables are still hugely important and will continue to play a key role in the market. As more companies embrace the hybrid work environment, the demand for laptops will continue. And their use will drive more network traffic for operators as workers choose to work outside of the office environment.


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